Chia Shu Min
A part-time Otaku. And an aspiring experience designer interested in exploring the use of ‘Anime’ to transform the narrative of the spaces into a new spatial experience.
Unreal/Real (A journey through texts into spaces)
“Reality is an illusion, a fabrication”
My final year project asks: what if we let a text dictate how a space should look or be organised rather than taking our design cues from ‘copy-paste’ trends? The project presents the translation of texts and short stories into designed spaces that don’t compromise on spatial experiences.
It is almost predictable as to how one’s house would look due to the “copy and paste” trend where most of the people reference how and what they want their house to look like based on another person’s home. This compromises the spatial experience and individuality of a house. How can we break out of this trend? Spaces determine the journey. What if we let the journey dictate how spaces should be organized? What if we let text dictate how the spaces should be organized?
Inspirations from Anime
Anime: A Japanese term for animation.Whereas the rest of the world referred it specifically to animation from Japan or as a Japanese-disseminated animation style which is often catergorized by their colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastical themes.
Anime was the initial inspiration that started my Final Year Project; Unreal/Real. It is a form of escape and is able to provoke our imaginations.
Upon exploring further into the background works behind an Anime film or series, I was intrigued by the development from research, sketches, renderings to the final production. Which I felt the familiarity and similarity when we design a space.
I discovered that most of the anime artists did their processes and sketches using the thumbnailing method. This method is also common practiced among conceptual artists.
- Allows for quick iteration over unique ideas
- Forces you to think about what you are creating
- Freedom to design without worrying about what you are creating
Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo
Ghost in the Shell (1995), Hiromasa Ogura
Howl's Moving Castle (2004), Hayao Miyazaki
Is there any difference between Anime & Cinematics?
How is Anime relevant?
As I am more intrigued by the behind the scenes of an Anime production, I start to wonder if there is any similarities or difference between Anime and Cinematics? If both shares similarities, then perhaps exploring into Anime is not an impossible direction as majority are aware of what cinematics are.
Both the films, Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell was questioning about the future and revealed the artist’s ‘world view’. They also shared similar techniques behind the production of the film’s scenes as well. Such as location scouting, sketching and painting.
Therefore, it is safe to assume that Anime are not that foreign from cinematics/films.
The Manhantten transcripts (1976-1981), Bernard Tschumi
Villa Savoyce, Le Corbusier
Villa Savoye, Le Corbusier
Blade Runner (1982), Ridley Scott
Sketch for one of the scene in Ghost in the Shell (1995), Hiromasa Ogura
Journey to Spaces
What if we let journey determine the space?
Moving forward to
In a nutshell, the thumbnailing method would capture the essence of the space for the user and the intensity of time spent would determine the space required for the user. With this, the spatial experience and individuality of a space, of a house design would be catered more personally to the user which then breaks out from the stagnant copy paste trend.
However, the outcome of the first project is not what I wanted as the design made the space boring. This is because I am still bound to what a regular HDB flat would look like, instead of going bolder to achieve my intention.
Text to Spaces
What if we let text determine the spaces?
“Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment that my meditation opens, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the centre, by its side a reading desk – that is all the furniture. And in the armchair there sits a swaddled lump of flesh – a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus. It is to her that the little room belongs.”
The Machine Stops (1909), E.M. Forster
I chose this text for this project as the site is narrative driven based from a paragraph from the book by E.M Foster. What’s interesting about this book is that I am translating this text 120 years later, bearing in mind that at that point of time, there are certain technology and devices not yet invented.
I will be analyzing and breaking down the text to show the different possible ways of translating. I am looking at whether each individual way is able to translate the text properly or perhaps all three have to work hand in hand to produce a unique outcome.
Different ways of translating text: #1 Elements
Different ways of translating text: #2 Descriptive words
Different ways of translating text: #3 Scenes
Moving forward to
After analyzing the structure of the text, I realized that while just 1 of the ways to interpret the text will be able to imagine the scene, I think the 3 different ways would actually work hand in hand, Each different way are responsible for building up the narrative, tension, suspense of the next setting/story.
What is the difference between this short story compared to others?
I felt that E.M Forster had structured out the short paragraph amazingly as he strategically uses certain words while building up the layout of the story. Compared to others’, this short story had successfully allow me to address the issue on ‘one not different from another’ as the outcome of each individual varies from person to person. Hence, the outcome will always be interesting.
Journey+Text to Spaces
What if journey through text determines the space?
In the third part of the project, I will be combining both the methodologies that I had explored on into a space. Translating into spaces using journey and text analysis.
By doing so, this would allows the space to be more personal and unique. Thus, each space will varies base from one’s journey and story.
How I translate journey to spaces here is by documenting each user’s time caricature activity. This allows me to see the intensity of the time spent in the space. From here, I then document the journey using quick thumbnailing sketch to capture how one sees and how one uses the space/objects. While journaling the circulation, what I had done is indicate the direction of the user faced.
I went back to further deconstruct EM Forster’s short paragraph again to help me build my narrative. I wanted to create my own narrative after exploring and learning from his structure of the text. There are two important structure as to how he build the story.
1. The way he described the scenes
2. The way he sequenced the descriptions
Therefore, in this section, I will be creating a different narrative based from the user’s journeys and ideals.
Mother’s narrative ideal space
Imagine, if you can, a HDB house, built of stones varying in shapes and sizes, like a fortified structure. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet there is no sense of unease in the dark. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the room carries a cooling breeze. There are no musical instruments, and yet at the moment that the authority is here, this room is echoing with creaking sounds. A bed is in the center, by its side a small desk – that is all the furniture. And in the armchair, there sits a superwoman – a woman, about 5 feet high, with a face as lived-in as an old book.
Brother’s narrative ideal space
Imagine, if you can, a HDB house, tunnel in shape, like the tornado. It is lighted by the window, working along side with the heavenly clock. There are no insulated walls, yet the room is silent. There are no speakers, and yet, at the moment that the joints move, this room is resounding with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the center, by its side a headphone device, that is all the furniture. And in the armchair, there sits a medium build man, about 6 feet high. It is to him that this device connects him to the world outside.
My narrative ideal space
Imagine, if you can, a HDB house, of different shapes and sizes, stacked like the Tetris. It is lighted from a play between the shadow and light. It is the day, yet it is dark. It is the night, yet it is bright. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air has a lingering sense of a woody, fragrant smell. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment when the world turns dark, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An ecosystem of the living and non-living exists in this space. And in this co-relationship, there is a rivalry among the noise and the sounds.