This project, created for ME115B, was a module focused on translating the industrial design of a brand into a flashlight. Through analyzing the details of a brand and decoding their industrial design language, I was able to create a model inspired by a brand, without simply sticking a light on an existing product. Starting out with a mood board, then moving through many iterations of sketches, the project culminated in foam model of the flashlight. Herman Miller, the brand I chose to work with, is an iconic furniture company. I chose to ideate of off the Eames chairs, and wanted to recreate a scultptural feel while maintaining a high sense of functionality.
The brand I chose was Herman Miller, focusing on the iconic Eames molded fiberglass chairs. Below is my Inspiration Board which mixes elements of the brand's products, as well as other products and images that represent the brand's attributes. I specifically looked toward what elements of the chairs were reflected in the world around me, such as the subtle curves of sand dunes or the sharp geometric shapes of telephone towers.
In my initial ideation sketches, I focused in on the main design concepts as inspired by my brand board. A few concepts I began to explore were the curves and forms of the chair shape, connections and wires, and the contract between organic and geometric forms. At first, I sketched out how certain details might be translated into a flashlight, and then iterated on different flashlights from there.
For my refined sketches, I focused on integrating different design concepts into one flashlight, demonstrating specific features, and perspective drawings. In this iteration of drawings, I really wanted to capture the flared lip that is a feature of many of the Eames chairs, and thought more about the use case of the flashlight in terms of where buttons would be and how light would show. My ideas "flared" out a bit in these drawings, which ended up being scaled back a bit to be able to translate this into a physical form.
In the final sketches, I produced sketches with specific call outs of details, such as material finish and certain design elements I was trying to capture from Herman Miller. I wanted my sketches to convey the connection between parts, the curves of the handle form, and how specific buttons would function.
Process Pictures and Foam Model
To translate my design into a physical form, I used modulan to create my Herman Miller inspired flashlight. I began by cutting the material down with the bandsaw, then used the belt and oscillating sander to form the curves and silhouette of the handle. Finally, using a file and then sand paper, I shaped and smoothed the flashlight down to its final form.
One challenge I faced with the physical model was how to incorporate the wire in a feasible way. While I originally wanted to create a woven fabric of metal wires, there was no secure way to attach them. I ended up transitioning into cutting off the top part of the model and using wire to connect the two pieces. This connection was meant to be a nod the the metal wire stands of the Eames charirs and to provide constrast in the flashlight between organic and geometric forms.