Design and make a turntable- an extended form study
‘a simple statement of form driven by thoughtful composition, context and underlying function’
…elements that exist only to ‘embellish’ a form suggest that there is a deficiency in that form. The overall form of an object should in itself provide sufficient visual interest to engage the viewer…
1. Planning and preparation
Define the brief, reflect, re define the brief. WWWWWH.
Who. Who is involved?
Myself as the designer and a target customer. Someone born between 1975-1990 so 25-40 years old. Enough life experience to know what they like. Own their own house or are looking to. Working professional, fashionable, trendy, has a pinterest account. Prefers hand made artisan over mass produced. Fun, casual, laid back. Refine this as a persona.
What is the problem/brief? To design a record player that this persona would fall in love with buy it and treasure it. Simple form, well executed. Expressive of underlying function.
What problems are behind the problem? The fine line between simple form being elegant and beautiful or plain and boring. The underlying function it is to be expressed but what if your brain tells you it is not plausible.
Start 28th March- Due 9am 2nd May. Make a timeline.When will the record player be used?
Physically made at home and AUT. Where will the record player be used? What is the environment it will be in. In the lounge, on top of a wooden bench, on a sideboard, in a cabinet, a stand alone feature piece? Make a collection of images for style cues.
To use the design process to design a product for a target customer. Why do they want a record player? Because they like the feel and sound quality of records. They like the record covers and physicality of them.
I am going to conduct some quick research into what the essential components of a record player are, what different types there are around. Collect images for style cues. Write my persona to help define the context in which the record player will be used in. Explore a variety of compositions appropriate to the chosen context. Select and develop one or more concepts. Evaluate. Make a full sized form study model. Make links to previous form studies. How does this model show an understanding of form?
What do we know about form? Form is the elements, character, material that make up/form the appearance of an object.
Please excuse the hand drawing but my computer was out of action for the first week or so. This is a break down of a record player at home with dimensions below.
Body- 360W x 315D x 60H mm. Tonearm- 210L x 6mm diameter. No striking use of 3D principles, basic rectangular box with clean lines. Cheap black plastic material probably a budget model for a hifi unit.
Record size- 300mm diameter.
Where is the motor? What spins a record?
To conclude this quick research I would say a turntable stripped back to its most basic form would be.
- An arm to hold the needle
- Something to counter weight the needle (could be motorised)
- A platform to sit the record on so it spins without distortion
- A locator of sorts so the record spins on a central axis
- A motor to spin the record
These are the essential components that will impact the layout of my form.
- 28Mrch-4Apr. Quick research. Re define brief. Style cues and context. Persona.
- 4-11Apr. Hand sketches, variety of compositions, make sketch models.
- 11-18Apr. Make sketch models, evaluate, select models to develop.
- 18-25Apr. Develop models, evaluate.
- 25Apr-2 May. Final model, layout hero shot contextual images. Blog tidy, hand in.
2. Context, Style cues, persona
It was Sunday evening at Sam’s beach side house as he went about sorting his van out. Surf gear was coming out and building tools were going back in. The van had been away for the weekend, a weekend of surfing and relaxation.
It had started as the usual Friday night dinner, sitting at the table discussing the weekends chore list when Sam flung his arms in the air.
“Chores, bores, lets go away for the weekend! Do something different, the chores will still be their tomorrow and the next day.”
Kristen didn’t need any convincing and they were off.
The waves had been pumping, they had found their favourite new ice cream shop and a cool set of black and white retro triangle stacking tables at an op-shop. It had been a perfect get away and Sam smiled as he closed a drawer in the van then opened it again sliding it back and forth enjoying the smooth action. He was glad that he had used quality runners on his van fit out he couldn’t stand poorly made things. Sam closed the boot of the van. He took a few steps back and crossed his arms, a frown took to his face as he looked at the layer of dust coating his new white Toyota hiace van. Tomorrow, tomorrow, he turned and walked towards the warm glow of the house.
He slipped his classic low cut skate shoes off at the entrance and walked inside skating on the polished wood floor past the long Danish sofa in the open plan lounge. Although the weekend chores hadn’t been done the house was still tidy with only the house plants looking like they wanted some water. He walked to where Kristen was preparing dinner on the liquid glass finished kauri bench.
There was a whoosh of steam as Kristen dumped a pot of hot pasta into a colander.
“I just cooked pasta because its fast and easy is that all right?” She asked.
“Look what arrived though, I left it for you to open” Kristen said looking to a parcel at the end of the bench.
About a month ago sitting at their dining room table on their 6th anniversary not doing particularly much for such an occasion they decided they should have another look at this particular salt and pepper mill set they had found. Finding the right set was proving a hard task. They knew they didn’t want anything just run of the mill. It had to complement the Scandinavian cutlery it had to have balanced proportion something robust yet elegant. Everything they had found in shops was all of that old bulbous traditional shape and unappealing materials so it was now up to what the internet had to offer.
Kristen went and got her laptop and brought up on screen her ‘for the home’ pinterest board that contained one option they were see sawing over. A wood turned set from an Irish designer that had won a few design awards for this particular set. £147 + shipping from Ireland.
“Should we?” said Kristen.
“Fuck it, it’s our anniversary lets treat ourselves.” Said Sam.
Sam opened the package removing the bubble wrap and placed them on the bench. He turned one around in his hand enjoying the smooth and sculpted wood. He rushed to fill them with peppercorns and rock salt as Kristen took the food to the dining table.
“Bon apetit.” Said Sam
Sam ground some pepper onto his pasta, turned the mill upside down adjusted something on the bottom and ground again.
“How nice is that ceramic crush grind. Worth every penny I say.”
3. Compositions, hand sketches.
4. Sketch models.
Evaluate, choose models to develop.
I didn’t do enough evaluation at this point. I don’t know if I was just in the moment, in a rush, caught up in the flow. But what did happen is I formed an idea about a model I liked. I showed some other people the photos of models, they picked their favourites and the one I liked appeared in all of their picks. More time evaluating would have saved me time in the long run. Always go back to your brief to make sure you are not drifting off.
I needed to ask of my models. …elements that exist only to ‘embellish’ a form suggest that there is a deficiency in that form. The overall form of an object should in itself provide sufficient visual interest to engage the viewer…
The above two sketch models were chosen to develop. The reasons for this were there simple form and relevance to both research and persona. The top being the one I liked as mentioned before. The persona is a hands on person he likes quality he likes Scandinavian design, he likes clean lines, he likes a sense of order and complementing style.
5. Development models.
I spend time making these models seeing what happens if I move away from rule of thirds , seeing what happens if I try asymmetry, extension of legs in top models. At the end of it I decided I hadn’t made enough improvement to go with any of the developments so I was left looking at this one as my final model.
evening came and I looked at the photos of this model and I re read the brief and key concepts and I had a little freak out. …elements that exist only to ‘embellish’ a form suggest that there is a deficiency in that form. The overall form of an object should in itself provide sufficient visual interest to engage the viewer…
Is the most basic form of this turntable a square and have I just used 3D elements like negative detail, rule of thirds and proximity to embellish it? Anyway I slept on it.
I woke up and I thought lets go back to the drawing board. I wasn’t happy with any of the other models nothing was screaming at me this is cool, this is what the persona would buy love and treasure. So I looked for some more research and inspiration. I wanted to break it down into some simple shapes and compose them in an engaging form. I looked at Danish table design where it is all about starting with good shape and proportion then finishing with great detail like legs and joining.
Basic form, simple elegant, final model will allow for sliding system for legs so that customer can adjust balance of body to their own favoured proportions. 3D principles, rule of thirds, body is a third of leg height and record hangs over a third of the body depth. The model incorporates a balance of kinetic potential, negative detail and dynamic orientation. The legs which are asymmetrical have a forward sloping dynamic orientation but because of the vertical back leg it balances the overhanging mass of the body. The platter overhangs the front of the body giving the object a fine visual balance. The model also has three main parts a dominant rectangular body, a sub dominant round platter and sub ordinate triangular legs.
6. Final model. Hero shot and contextual image.