Time Capsule Project — Part II
Sketching and Prototyping My Time Capsule
In the second part of the Time Capsule project, we are asked to design what we want our time capsules to look like. I started with just freely imagining what a time capsule could possibly look like. Since a time capsule is like a container that holds different things in one place, I thought about what objects contain things in daily life. I came up with four diverse objects — a bottle that has a letter that drifts across the ocean, a gift box that has unknown surprises within, a safe that protects its owner’s treasures from the outside world, and a pearl shell that has pearls hidden inside. In the end, I decided to go with the pearl shell time capsule design and expanded my thoughts on the basic form of a pearl shell. I sketched out a rough image of my pearl shell time capsule on my sketched book and then went online to research elements and inspirations that I wanted to borrow from.
The smooth lines and curves of the pearl shells reminded me of the lines, flows, and fluidity in architectures. Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic architectural designs, for example, inspired me greatly and encouraged me to explore and learn the ideas of transition, undulation, and nature from simple elements such as circles, lines, waves, etc. Among many of FLW’s designs, I was particularly interested in his designs of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the David and Gladys Wright House. The two architectures, to me, present proximity to both the surrounding environment and the nature and redefine relationships between the architectures and the space, the people and the architectures, as well as the inside and the outside.
Besides FLW, I also looked for some shell-inspired architectures in contemporary society and found this really fascinating architectural art project — Transparent Shell Structure — that was designed and built by the Pone Architecture team from Guangdong, China. In Pone Architecture’s design, every twist and turn in the Transparent Shell Structure provided viewers with interesting perspectives from different angles and the work itself did an amazing job in imitating the patterns and reimagining the movements of the natural life forms.
Why did I choose pearl shell as the form of my Time Capsule?
How did I connect a simple pearl shell to the grand concepts of architecture/architectural design?
The reasons that I chose pearl shell were, metaphorically: 1. Pearl shell is an object that you may find unexpected surprise (pearls) inside sometimes 2. Pearl shell is a medium that holds ‘treasure’ (pearls). In this case, my items are my treasure/peals and therefore the pearl shell is my time capsule.
I consider my time capsule a location/a house that holds precious objects and memories. The very idea that looking at it as a building, an architecture, a home reminds me of Le Corbusier’s words, “A house is a machine for living in”. If my time capsule is the house/machine, I say my items are the residents living inside. And I’m simply excited to imagine what kind of significance will they create 126 years later… Pearls develop in the shells as time passes, will that happen the same to my items as well?
Building my prototype:
Materials that I used
· A butterhead lettuce container
· The core of paper towel
· Gift packaging tapes and flowers
· Scissors and Elmer’s glue
It’s quite funny that I have been saving this butterhead lettuce container for weeks and finally utilized it this time. The story is I refused to recycle it and just let it sit in my kitchen for a long time because I somehow felt that it would eventually be used in one of my projects at some point. So, yes, my lettuce container became my pearl shell time capsule.
At first, I planned to translate my time capsule image according to the sketch I had on hand and built several layers of rings on the lettuce box. However, as I moved on, I realized I didn’t really like the original design because I started to find it kind of dull when I was sticking the proportionally cut paper towel cores to the container’s surface. To freshen up my mind, I looked around my apartment and searched for other soft materials that I could use in my work. I found these long-forgotten gift packaging tapes and flowers that I got at The Container Store in 2019 and decided to make use of them. I glued those flower on top of the cut paper cores that I already pasted on the container and finished the look with those beautiful tapes wrapped around the flowers — creating the feeling of undulating waves or liquid motions.
The final look of my pearl shell time capsule looked like an interestingly decorative hat to me after I studied it from different angles. I couldn’t help but think what if it is a device that can also be used as a fashion and aesthetic purpose? When it is an entity, it is a time capsule. But when it is divided, it becomes a hat. I think if I have access to more diverse and durable materials in the future, I will definitely work on that and create a more sustainable item that has both practical and artistic values!
(I played with my Time Capsule a bit on my head. Imaginations do lead you to many interesting renderings!)
Recap of the Overall Prototyping Process through Canva:
Also attaching some interesting articles that I came across in my process below: