Lesson #3: How do designers develop their ideas?

Part of the unit: Two-Dimensional Furniture Design |


How do designers develop and improve on their ideas?
Students will be able to:
Understand that designers work from a concept or problem and continually revise and rethink ideas
Understand that working out ideas three-dimensionally is a part of the research and thinking process in the design process
Use their sketches from the previous lesson as visual guides
Use their research material for inspiration on improving their design
Use paper in an exploratory way to create a three-dimensional sketch of their two-dimensional design
Improve on the form of their design by bending, folding, cutting and combining paper forms.
white oaktag paper, scissors, clear tape, glue Student sketches from the prior lesson to distribute. Ongoing class-generated ideas for a chair to use during the demonstration. Have images of designer chairs for reference for those who are unable to complete their research homework.
1. Have students' sketches up from the previous lesson as review. 2. Introduce the design process to the students by showing and discussing Charles and Ray Eames works at www.loc.gov/exhibits/eames/furniture.html. Explain their design concepts and processes: *Concept: to improve people's lives by producing affordable yet high-quality furniture for living and working spaces. *Working processes: identifying the problems and needs of the public, brainstorming ideas through sketching, researching and experimenting with material to make a solution, proposing the solutions to the public through prototypes and brochures.
  • Focus Question: how do their sketches help us envision their products?
3. View and discuss Frank Gehry's design process of the Diller Building: *Concept: Ship of Glass. To build the headquarters for an e-commerce tycoon Barry Diller, along the Hudson River. The concept is ship of glass.
  • *Focus Questions: Why do you think the architect chose this concept for the building?
  • How is the form of the building reminiscent of sails?
Explain: the concept as a metaphor for Hudson River and Diller's business of global communication *Working processes-view sketches and models for the Diller building
  • *Focus Question: how is Gehry's working process similar to Eames's? How does he change his ideas through his models?
1. Explain the goals of this session to the students: revise the form and function of your chair by sketching three-dimensionally with paper. use the research images you gathered for homework for ideas and inspiration. 2. Refer back to Eames Chair Shell experiments while demonstrating various ways of transforming paper into three-dimensional forms: -Cutting, Bending, Folding, Crunching, Making slits, Attaching shapes together into a single shape 3. Refer to last session's two-dimensional sketch and resource material while problem solving as a class in constructing a three-dimensional form of their chair:
  • What kind of shapes is the sketch of the chair made of?
  • What do we need to do to paper to make that shape?
  • How can we attach it together?
  • Does it balance? What do we need to do to make it stand on its own?
  • Does the form look comfortable to sit in? What can we do to it to make it more comfortable?
  • Is there a function or form another designer designed that can be incorporated into your design?
  • How can you do so without copying?
  • Does the form of your chair balance with the function of your chair?
1. Distribute back sketches from previous session as students gather their research images. *Note: since art homework is most often not reinforced, have images of designer chairs readily available for students to use as references. 2. Have students take a moment to look at their sketches and research material to further develop their ideas. Have some guiding questions on the board as a checkpoint for the students:
  • Does the form of your chair balance with the function of your chair?
  • Is there a function or form created by another designer that would improve your design?
  • Does it fit with your concept/targeted audience?
  • How can you incorporate it without copying the design?
3. Distribute materials: white oaktag paper, scissors, clear tape, glue. 4. While working, encourage students to improve their design's form by experimenting with the capabilities of paper. When needed, help them problem-solve ways to balance form with function and ways of making their chair free-standing.
Pick two to three students' three-dimensional sketches that demonstrate a balance between form and function in their design. View along with their two-dimensional sketch and discuss:
  • How does the form of this model support its functions?
  • What changes did you make from your drawing?
  • What was not working that made you change...?
  • How did you create (form)?
  • What was challenging?
  • If this were to be made into a real chair, what material would you choose? Why?
Possible curriculum connection with classroom teacher, i.e. science: Have students research affordable and socially responsible designs from the Cooper Hewitt Museum exhibition "Design for the Other 90%". Discuss how their designs empower global populations surviving below the poverty level or recovering from a natural disaster.