Material Matters- New Materials in Design

This book is pretty interesting, from bio plastic, inflated glass, to aerogel the lightest solid on earth (captures stardust by NASA), the book explores loads of materials i’ve never even heard of. Seemed like a very DS10 book.

Bridging the Digital Divide with Sparchitecture

More than 4 billion human brains are not connected to the global machine that is internet. The enormity of this divide is cause for concern. So how do we bridge this divide? India has the greatest disparity between total population and internet users out of all the countries in the world. The majority of users are located in urban areas, the rural parts are digitally disconnected.

By trying to include an exemplar rural community in West Bengal into the global digital network, we aimed to develop an architecture that considered India’s local resources and culture. By using Jute which is a vegetable fibre that is also the highest produced agricultural product in India, we intended to show-case the communities local materials and skills. India’s cultural symbol is represented by the spindle. We took the idea of the spindle to an architectural level by developing a spinning system that would create architecture and become the catalyst for the construction of a spillage (spun village).

The community’s internet inclusion would be manifested by the setup of a blog that would advertise the community and promote their growth by attracting tourists to come and visit the site. With the growth of the community the spaces would accommodate visitors and the site would become an ecotourism destination. Ultimately, this scheme was conceived to diffuse the ideologies beyond the borders of the community, spreading local ideas. This exemplar settlement would become a precursor for change in other communities across the developing world that have the right to the internet, unleashing a cornucopia of human thought!

By Maria Valente and Anam Hasan


“Bang Goes The Theory presenter Jem Stansfield is attempting to fly a human-powered plane.

Jem designed the plane which works on pedal power and has been doing intense training to prepare himself for the aircraft’s first – and possibly only – flight.”

Jem Stansfield on the plane at dawn with his Bang team running beside him

Success!!  Jem (with team) finally makes a 'hop' into the air

Great video!

Take a byte out of Raspberry Pi!

Raspberry Pi is a micro computer  the size of a credit card, its founder Eben Upton at Cambridge University designed it to be cheap enough to purchase for kids to learn about computers and programming, it can also be used for spreadsheets, word-processing and games and has the capability to play high-definition videos. The small computer retails at only $35 for Model B, which comes with an ethernet connection and $25 for Model A.  Its a modular style of marketing a computer whereby the LCD screen, keyboard, mouse and SD card can all be bought as a kit for no more than $100. The computer is also powered from a mobile charger, or can run on 4xAA cells.

JUTE: The Golden Fibre

Jute is a vegetable fibre that comes from the Corchorus plant (also know as the golden fibre for its colour). India is the largest producer of Jute in the world. The jute is sewn between March and May each year and is harvested in October whereby the stems (which reach a height of up to 4m) of the plants are cut and then soaked in water to loosen the fibres for extraction, this process is known as retting. After the fibres have been extracted they are sun dried and hung ready to be used for packaging, wrapping, sacks, geotextiles- landfill covering, hessian cloths, pulp. Latest experiments even show that the waste produced in jute mills, known as jute caddy can be used effectively as fuel in power plants.

Estimates by the West Bengal Consultancy Organisation (Webcon) show that jute mills in the state together produce more that 70,000 tonnes of jute caddy annually, this wouls generate 7MW of power.  “This would save 45,000 tonnes of coal for power generation,” claimed Asim Mahapatra, managing director of Webcon.

Below are some images by the Japanese artist Naoko Serino who works with Jute fibres to produce delicate and lightweight art.

A Ladder to the Burning Clouds

A ladder to the burning clouds

Solar balloon experiments

The video shows a tetroon shaped balloon made from 20 bin bags, measuring approximately 7mx3.5m folded out, and once inflated with air the balloon was about 4m in diameter. The balloon reached a height of about 25-35m. I found it rose quicker when released from a height (the tetroon was released from my loft bathroom window). I also carried out several other tests with different forms (and some with a weight) such as a cellular tetroon, UFO, double bulb, cuboid and a tube, but I found the tetroon form the most stable in the air, it also reached the greatest height, was the largest balloon I constructed and used the entire bin bag during construction.

A Pneu Story

This animation tells the story of an autonomous pneumatic landscape emerging from the ground. The story begins deep in the ocean where the first pneus forms came into existence, overtime they evolved and reached the surface of the water to continue life on land, where they became animated by the changing environment that surrounded them.

I used Cinema 4D and After Effects(and some Trapcode Particular).

This was my final animation for my digital representation unit at the University of Westminster.

The images below are my chronograms and storyboard from my logbook.