Author Archive


September 22, 2009

Sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch: the five senses are how we experience design.  All of the senses are important, but I believe the most important sense is touch.  People and see and hear spaces and smell and taste the air all from a distance.  But you have to be in the space, experiencing it from a closer perspective to understand all of the textures in the room. 

The sensory experience of discomfort is universal throughout the human race.  Some people can deal with tremendous amounts or pain, others with irritating noises, and some with extreme environmental factors.  However, physical discomfort without pain sparks irritation in everyone.  This discomfort is easily, and often, remedied but it is rarely enhanced and pushed further through design.  Most of these devices are meant for exercise, not for fashion or appeal.  I wanted to change this and make a device that pushed the boundaries of discomfort while creating a visually appealing piece.

My design captures and heightens physical discomfort.  From the feel of the garment against the skin to the tremendous weight, my design intensifies suffering.  Made from a rigid fabric, the piece is fitted to the body as it hugs the small of the back and wraps around to form to the stomach.  The front of the garment grows up in a corset like manner and prohibits the wearer from bending at the waist, instead the structure forces the wearer to stand up straight.  Stemming from the fitted back, a huge bustle covers the buttocks and extends to the upper thighs.  With its multiple bouncing layers, the bustle adds weight and mass to the region and pulls the front section closer to the body, allowing even less forward movement.   The bustle is stiff and is not uncomfortable to press against, so the wearer is unable to sit down and relieve fatigue.   Discomfort is prevalent throughout my design and it functions to make the wearer as physically uncomfortable as possible.

Although my design does serve the purpose to further pain and suffering that does not mean that it cannot be pretty.  With symmetrical front stemming from a uniform pattern restricting movement, to the balanced bustle with an almost random organization of modules, the design screams girly and feminine.   There is nothing masculine about this design.   My design allows for beauty and suffering to coexist and be joined in an object. 

Within a space the garment restricts the wearer to walking or standing in the room.  The wearer is unable to relax in the space, but it might allow the wearer to experience the space in a new way.  Rooms are often viewed at a passing glance or at taken in slowly, but with this garment the rooms could be seen an entirely new way, taking everything in while meandering around to take the users mind of off the discomfort they are feeling.


Home Bedroom

September 15, 2009


During middle school and high school, my place to get away was my bedroom.  As I move through college, this room has continued to be my sanctuary.   When I need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the world around me, I escape home and run to the place that is truly mine.  Differing from the softer traditional style my mother achieved in the rest of the house, my bedroom is filled with a mix-match of furniture, too many pictures, and bold colors that bring back memories that put them there.   It has never mattered how pretty or well designed the room was because to me, it was perfect. 

Organized in a practically way, the study area, the music corner, and the protruding bed fit nicely into the almost square plan of the space.  As one entered the room, a bookshelf, side table, rocking chair and ottoman, and a monstrosity of a desk and chair where the first things seen.  Stepping in, a bass guitar and amp, an upright bass resting in the corner, and a full keyboard under the windows come into view.  Finally, the head was turned to the right and the bed was revealed, strategically shoved in the corner to hide the un-made mess.   Even though the furniture has never fit the “desired” floor plan, it always has fit my needs.  

Naturally lit with five huge windows, the room is filled with light during the day.  At night, lights on the ceiling fan pour light throughout the room with floor and table lamps providing task lighting in needed areas.  Large trees cover my windows and provide privacy, so I rarely needed to shut all my blinds.  The light is my room is warm, bright, and inviting. 

The temperature in the room has always been an annoying subject.  My room was too big to have two air vents, but not small enough for one.  Deciding to go the easier route and only put one vent in.  Unfortunately the room is hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  I’ve had to have different comforters and blankets on my bed depending on the weather.  It was annoyance  at first, but now I’m just used to it, but I would have loved to have a room that was just comfortable all the time. 

My room hasn’t really changed much since I was thirteen, so my memory of the room was fairly accurate.  The man difference was the exact placements of some furniture, and the location of my closet door.  I remembered the furniture along the left wall of my room closer together, and my closet door closer to the door to my bedroom.  All of my pictures and photos are still on my wall with the exception of a few that I’ve since taken to college.  That details of the room have been ingrained in me, I spent a lot of time there and I made it my haven.

Physical Exercise

September 8, 2009

Characterized by the desire to exercise or to simply keep moving instead of staying in a sedentary state, physical exercise or the human need to move and use the body is one of Steven Reiss’s sixteen basic motives.   People are aware of the needs of their bodies, exercise and the working off those pesky extra calories has always been important in recent history.  In designs, this motivator is manifested in obvious and subtle ways through both public and private buildings. 


Gyms are clearly a part of the motive for exercise.  Public gyms that offer many different forms of workouts have become increasingly popular as people have wanted more diverse workout regimens.  By supplying facilities for individual or group workout needs many of these “gyms” have become “workout centers,” marketing themselves to the more elite crowd, many of these whom had previously had worked out at home.  For those who would rather work out outside:  another popular, public opinion is the hike and bike trail.  Walking and biking trails have become trendy in many major cities, on university campuses, and as a feature of private neighborhood developments.   

Designers and architects have picked up on the motive as well, and have incorporated it in many shopping centers and other public areas.  Taking a walk outside on a beautiful day is practically an American pastime and has therefore become a part of design.  Outdoor shopping centers have sprung up in major cities, featuring an outdoor shopping district that branches off of a central street or walkway.  Downtowns have also become more pedestrian friendly.  While always designed to attract foot traffic, downtown designers have added more lights, outdoor speakers, and flashier facades to make experience more enjoyable. 


Many residences now have a room or space allocated for working out.  People have their own reasons for wanting/needing a workout area in their home from loving the convenience to not wanting to work out in front of others, to not wanting to pay the monthly fees of a public gym.  Whatever the reason, these spaces have become a necessary part of people’s homes in the form of a separate room, the corner in the guest room, or that spot in front of the television.    Swimming pools have also become a popular feature corporate into the design and costs of homes.   Either lap pools or rounder family pools can be used for exercise and add value to any home, making them a practical design decision.

A big beautiful yard is always a desirable feature to a home, and many people do their own gardening.  The feeling of getting dirty and sweaty and creating something beautiful appeals to many that will spend from a couple of hours to days working and creating that prefect lawn or flower bed.

Moulin Rouge

September 1, 2009

Fantasies become reality in the film Moulin Rouge.  The story focuses around the love of a young writer (Christian) and a courtesan (Satine) for the Moulin Rouge who fall in love under dream-like circumstances.  The pair must hide their relationship during the transformation of Moulin Rouge from a night club into a theater, from the rich investor less they be discovered and Christian killed.  Moulin Rouge is a modern take of the Tristan and Iseult a classic story that deals with the complexities of balance and adultery. 

When the audience first meets Christian, the film is shot in a sepia-esque style which mirrors the solemn tone of the opening.   However, as soon as the love story is begun to be told through flashbacks, the film switches into full color.  The color schemes continue to alternate throughout the opening sequence, going to sepia when Christian is without Satine.   The love story is filmed in full color, with the filmmakers only using sepia when Christian has lost Satine, either before or after the love story is told.    

Sets are whimsical and fanciful throughout the ideal and magical moments of the movie.  The more fantasy filled the story, the extreme the set.   From a swing extending from the 30 foot ceiling in the dance hall, to the discovery of love inside the famous Moulin Rouge elephant, to the disquieting Gothic Tower, nothing is too outlandish in this setting.  Audiences just except the wild sets as a part of the story because it is a part of the fictional world of Christian and Satine.

Ultimately the story is a tragedy and as the story turns darker, we go deeper into the depths of the Moulin Rouge and see the not-so-glamorous side of the characters’ lives, going behind the scenes of the fantasy.  The public rooms are stripped of their colorful façade, being replaced by heavier fabrics, exposed beams, and unfinished walls.   As the layers of the Moulin Rouge fall away, the true relationship of Christian and Satine is also exposed, offering the question of whether the play is a reflection of the relationship, or the relationship a reflection of the play.  Trapped in their own worlds, Christian and Satine’s relationship has flaws much like the true side of the Moulin Rouge.  As Satine’s illness progresses, the sets become darker and darker culminating in her death.  The final scene in the story takes place in the dimly lit backstage of the Moulin Rouge theater, with nothing but dark empty space surrounding the actors.