This is a project from my 3rd year at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Important steps on the way include analysis of a foreign culture, analysis of an established brand and reserach in high-technological materials. Tutors Cecilie Skjerven and Anne Mellbye.
To analyse the desires of young people from the growing middle class in China, I chose to start with a study in chinese film. I included both fictional and documentary films, from main land as well as Hong Kong. Being a film director in china is seen as the top of creative talents, but still the censorships often stands in the way of their freedom of expression.
A documentary about a young film director, Wang Yuelun, especially caught my attention. This film captures the contradictions of young people in China today, inbetween old culture and ideals of how to live their life and the growing dreams and possibilities of the future. 'Shiny Stars, Rusty Red' from 2003 is directed by Elisabeth O. Sjaastad.
The resulting product is a digital fortuneteller based on an ancient system called I Ching. 'The book of changes' presents symbols used to identify order in random events.
The text describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy that is intrinsic to ancient Chinese cultural beliefs. The cosmology centres on the ideas of the dynamic balance of opposites, the evolution of events as a process, and acceptance of the inevitability of change.
Through the elements of solid and broken lines the process of change is described. The unbroken, solid Yang and the broken, open Yin forms 64 possible hexagrams that besides explaining the constituents of a situation, also are used as a tool for divination. The binary system has resuted in a lot of attention because of the similarity with digital elements and programming languages. The I Ching signs also have a beautiful graphical simplicity. In fact the I Ching has been mentioned as one of the starting points for construction of the old chinese alphabet.
The creation of the brand Sanguine. The overall vision to combine traditional chinese elements with futuristic technology is reflected both in fashion and films in China. Sanguine is a brand that should encourage curiousity for relations and personal growth and add an element of magic in peoples lives.
The name Sanguine originates from the chinese words Suan and Ming that of course has multiple meanings, like like most words in the chinese alphabet, but among other things means calculate destiny. The english meaning of Sanguine also fit both the product and the brand perfect. Spirited, hopeful, confident for what itís intended to give its user, and glowing for the expression it has when it comes to life.
The brand building part of the project has included analysis of values in another brand. For sanguine I chose the chinese brand Aigo, that produces mp3 players. I discovered Aigo after designing Sanguine, and found some of the aesthetics and values for the user to be similar. This diagram explains alikeness and differentiation between the two.
What is a 'digital fortuneteller'? Diagramming possible kinships with other products, belonging to different product ranges but in one way or another being comparable, is a way to explain this novel product. It is also a way to point out that all the products in the Sanguine brand can be cathegorized as a mixture between tool and toy. Sanguine builds upon ancient chinese beliefs, but has a quite large element of play and entertainment.
In this project diagrams were used extensively and in many iterations, to communicate the design and bring the process forwards. This is a diagram of inspirations and associations with the product in the beginning of the design process.
Diagramming core values for the brand, that later turned out to be the digital fortuneteller product.
Aesthetic inspiration. I Ching means balanced contrast, and I wanted this to be visible in the product. Harmony and balance is the main aesthetic element. Futurism and transformation are added through contrasting modes of the product in use.
Physical modelling of the shape, from rubber castings of the inside of a hand to clay to cibatool. Plus examining texture of pebbles used for hot stone massage for inspiration.