Author Archive

The Scent Palette

September 22, 2009

Blog 4, scent palette 001Although a subtle sense, touch also has a very important effect on our emotions. Whether a soft blanket or sand on a beach, we inherently associate certain tactile experiences with emotional responses or experiences with those surfaces. According to Sally Augustin, when soft, slow strokes are used during massages we find it more relaxing or fast, abrupt strokes create a sense of invigoration. Also, “feeling rounded surfaces has relaxing beneficial effects.”


Since “human[s]… process smells and emotions with the same part of their brains,” scents can be a powerful way of inducing certain feelings and emotions when creating a space or object.


The concept behind the Scent Palette is to engage both touch and smell. The scent palette is designed to also conform to the form of the body and be comforting. This device or furniture piece would have a simple rectilinear or square base (pending on the number of people) which houses the mechanical components it needs to function. The base would encompass a motor which pumps scented air (pressure adjustable) through small holes in the base, like an enlarged air hockey table, which filters through the loops. The loops would most likely be composed of a thick foam or another soft material with a secondary structure to add support, and allow you to relax and take in the experience created. These loops would have small gaps in between each unit in order to let the air gently pass through and flow softly on and around the body. The scent palette would also allow aromas to be interchanged in order to cater to the person’s emotions. This way no matter what emotion you are experiencing, or what emotion you are trying to create, you can tailor the experience to fit your needs. The scent palette also places you into a flat, lounging position which allows you to close your eyes and relax. This way you are shutting down a major sense, the sense of sight, in order to focus more on smell and feel which will yield more effective results.


So, take a load off and lay among the clouds for a few minutes, stick in your favorite scent and get up feeling renewed, relaxed, or whatever you choose.


Not Just Another College Living Room

September 15, 2009

Since my room has become more of a place for sleeping, dressing, storing, and depositing various items throughout the day. I have found most of the minimal free time I have is spent within my living room. Although minimal in furnishings, I have found it to be a comfortable place to relax, especially after getting in from a late night at studio where all you really want to do is eat something and watch about 15 minutes of television to clear your mind before passing out.


Even though I have only spent two months living in this apartment, I have come to know this space fairly intimately. I think it comes from spending a portion of the summer in it with nothing to do. This is probably why my initial sketch was fairly accurate in comparison to scaled version. Some proportions of the furniture were off, but overall the details were fairly vivid and accurate. There are now a few more things placed on the table from the everyday ebb and flow of items.


This small section of my apartment is approximately 10.5” by 14’9” which was surprisingly close to my in class estimation of 10’ by 15’. The lighting is extremely dim in this portion of my apartment and is only lit by two lamps which are shown in the plans. For some odd reason there is no overhead fixture in this area. The two lamps house a 60 watt compact fluorescent in a warm color temperature. The pair put out approximately 10 foot-candles under the source and approximately 5 in between the pair. This is also due to the extremely dark, brown curtains which cover the large window, and the lack of natural light that comes in the space due to exterior overhangs. The apartment is kept at approximately 76 degrees which may not be entirely accurate since the living room is always a few degrees warmer due to lack of proper ventilation. Thus, we have a fan which is one of the only consistent forms of noise (aka white noise) within the living room. The only other sounds are those from the television and other various noises when the kitchen is being used.


The mood is set by not only the furnishings but also the soft lighting emitted from the two lamps. The materials used within the space are soft and comfortable. The couch is covered with a chocolate brown, suede couch cover which is draped with a soft blanket and covered in plush pillows (my favorite being the solid green suede one). This space is also kept clean for the most part. Decluttering space helps declutter and relax the mind. Overall, though fairly sparse and in need of a touch of color, this space is a nice retreat after a long day in studio, watching movies, or chatting with friends.

Social Contact

September 7, 2009

According to Reiss social contact is the “desire for peer companionship.” As one of the sixteen basic desires, social contact feeds off of the need for humans to interact and socialize with others.

So, the big question is how can this basic desire be related to a physical place?

First off, the physical place (public or private) needed for social interaction should be a space which allows people to be brought together. There are various types of physical places which allow, or even produce social interactions. To be honest, just about any space which is not solely for intimately private usage could be considered as a place for interaction. A few places which allow social contact include: side walks, schools, grocery stores, living rooms, cafes, sporting events, parks, etc. The list is fairly vast.

UT: Becoming more focused we will look at UT as an example of a physical place which yields social interaction. UT’s campus is a prime area for social interaction whether walking across campus on your way to class, or participating in class discussion. The campus is highly occupied with people, large, and is an open public space. The campus provides for an array of encounters whether casual (i.e. running into someone randomly on campus) or forced (i.e. being called on in class).

Apartments: Next, one of the most basic and highly used places is the living room. It is a more private and controlled, yet still social environment. It is also casual and yields for multiple people to inhabit the space without intruding into more personal space.

Spiderhouse: Other places include cafes, restaurants, and coffee houses which are laid back, and are common social destinations for social interactions. The phrase “Hey, wanna grab coffee sometime” is a perfect example of how these services made available create and foster social contact. These places also act as an almost ‘neutral’ meeting ground for easy, somewhat controlled situations.

UT Football, The Stadium: Lastly, football stadiums and other sporting arenas provide another level of social contact. Sporting events are usually attended in groups and provide for large numbers of people to attend them. Here humans are able to interact with others who share common grounds; whether friend or stranger, these physical places allow human interaction on a large scale.

Basically, the physical places needed/utilized for social contact run the gamut.

The Fountain

September 1, 2009

The spaceship scene from The Fountain by Darren Aronfsky shows an example of how built sets are not always composed of an interior space surrounded by walls which house furniture.

This particular portion of the movie focuses on a futuristic theme of space travel. Here, Huge Jackman’s character, Tom, occupies a redefined vision of a spaceship carrying a dying tree headed for a nebula. This travel is in pursuit of the tree’s hopeful rebirth among the dying star. The evocation of death in this portion is in support of the main theme of the constant struggle with accepting death, and the search for a cure to preserve our time with the people we love. The set’s extremely raw and rugged appearance helps support and convey the impression of death, and the process of dying. This set within the movie places the same theme within a new, futuristic, and intellectual atmosphere where the character can only interact within the means of the spaceship, and its contents.

The set is composed simply of the spaceship which is depicted as a large, clear, floating space that is very bubble like. The spaceship encompasses an organic area filled with natural elements which includes an enormous, dying tree composed of rough, undulating wood in a small encased environment. The surrounding is as if a small section of land were dug out and simply placed into the spaceship for its travels. It is comprised of numerous amounts of other dead vegetation, a small pond, and earth. The set also includes a few personal belongings and some primitive tools which are implied to have been hand crafted by Tom from the surrounding environment. The background scene, which was originally a green screen, was replaced with actual close up footage of small chemical reactions that take place in a Petri dish. This approach yielded a beautiful, abstracted depiction of space and the nebula’s explosion. The lighting for most of the set is very subtle and almost tranquil until the nebulas explosion in which the set becomes flooded with light. Here, there is a shift even in the coloration of light from a bluish hue to golden which falls in line with shift in plot.

Overall, this set within The Fountain shows an exquisite example of how a futuristic and semi-abstract setting can be formed to support the story being told without the confinement of walls, and what we as viewers expect.