Inspired by the writing of Christopher Schwarz and woodworkers like Paul Sellers and Roy Underhill, I started wanted to build a workbench using mainly hand tools with strong mortise and tenons and dovetails.
After researching dozens of different of historical benches from various different cultures, I decided to recreate Will Myers adaptation of a bench at the Old Salem collection in New Salem, N.C.
It is made with hand-planed and cut joints using red oak and pine with a hard maple wood screw vice from Lake Erie Toolworks. The bench has a left-handed orientation with dog holes that accommodate 3/4" holdfasts finished in Danish oil.
This project satisfied my urge to restore and sharpen some one-hundred year old tools found at flea markets and eBay, while refining my handcrafting skills, and ultimately has become an indispensible tool in my workshop that I will use for a lifetime.
While working for Chicago-based design consultancy, Studio Murmur, we were tasked by the maker of the world's first wireless T.E.N.S. unit to redesign their app-enabled iTENS product. Our research indicated diverse markets so we developed several potential concepts. The result added functionality while reducing costs by eliminating unnecessary parts and combining various technologies into a single, small and user-friendly housing.
This was a product collaboration with Samsung and SAIC based on design research on Millenials and their relationship with technology in the context of socializing. It was led by George Aye of Greater Good Design, Emergent Design, and3 graduates of SAIC during the Summer of 2015.
Role: Design Research and synthesis, Video Editing (Final Cut Pro), Sketch Ideation, Leading brainstorm sessions.
Samsung SAIC Collab 2
This project combined a team of SAIC faculty and graduates in a collaboration with Samsung to investigate Millennials & Fashion Wearables.
During the Winter of early 2016, in a design team led by Julka Almquist, we conducted design research interviews, synthesized the data while leading brainstorming sessions together with members of the Samsung Mobile Technology design team to come up with new product concepts to be presented to Samsung in Korea.
Role: Design research and synthesis, interviewing, leading brainstorms, primary sketch concept artist
Cache Storage Cabinet for CB2
The Cache Storage Cabinet was created exclusively for Design Collab—a CB2 collaborative that brings us together with like-minded souls and design institutions. Design Collab No. 1 debuts small–space solutions by 12 students in the Designed Objects curriculum at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Designed by SAIC student Chester Ong, this conceptual cabinet spans only 10 inches wide with a hidden side panel that pulls out to reveal three storage drawers within. The slim, sleek concept neatly tucks into small spaces and tops out at counter height in hi-gloss white engineered wood with no exposed hardware. Rolling from room to room on four chrome casters, this design is envisioned by Ong as "the perfect space-saving organizer for your home office, kitchen or library to store everything from books to bourbon."
In ancient Greek, there are two words that refer to the phenomenon of time: Chronos and Kairos. While the quantitative Chronos refers to the passage of measured time, the qualitative Kairos refers the events that occur in opportune moments.
Kairos combines wearable technology and furniture design in order to create an experience that encourages people to seek out "flow" activities. Coined by psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow experiences occur when people are engaged, motivated, and fully immersed in intense focus.
Kairos translates brain activity during states of intense concentration into a copper patina, serving as a record and catalyst leading to further interactions and behaviors.
Flow is a psychological state that occurs when one is completely absorbed in an activity with an energized focus that can enhance creativity and productivity. Kairos, referring to “a time when conditions are right for an accomplishment of crucial action,” becomes an environment where flow experiences can be visualized and evaluated. An EEG headset measures brain activity of the person sitting at the desk where high states of concentration trigger fluid to be pumped onto a copper surface forming a patina. A motor moves the pump nozzle horizontally along the desk taking one week to travel from one side to the other allowing multiple streaks of patina to form. Over time, the patina becomes more personalized to the user’s flow experiences, resulting in a visualization of his or her body of work shaping future interactions and behaviors.
Upon turning on the desk, an embedded Arduino microcontroller and realtime clock moves the pump nozzle to an point on the desk corresponding to the current day and time of the week and interfaces with the EEG headset via Bluetooth. It then monitors brainwave data for high sustained concentration states and will pump a mixture of salt and vinegar from a waterproof flask from a peristaltic pump. This liquid solution is harmless to the user but will cause the copper surface to form a discoloration. The runoff then drips over an edge that is treated with a NeverWet hydrophobic surface and forced to drip into a waterproofed tray underneath where it can safely evaporate without harming the wood parts of the desk which were hand planed and joined with mortise and tenons.
This started as a design challenge using 4"x4" home center lumber to design an outdoor couch with sturdy hand-cut joints with a modern aesthetic over the course of a long weekend.
This hand-crafted maple camera toy encourages visual interaction with the world in an exploratory way. Each of the interchangeable accessories including buttons, knobs, and lathe-turned lenses connect through magnets embedded in each part.
The repelling polarities of the magnets embedded in the shutter button gives it a gravity defying springiness and the the act of changing lenses engages the tactile senses as a rotation pops the lens out, and another rotation attracts the lens to the body.
Looking through the various lenses allows the world to be seen from a different perspective through the use of color filters, a Lichtenstein-like grid, a peephole lens, and a kaleidoscope.
This sushi-inspired pouf unfolds into a single person bed and pillow set for the the occasional guest to crash at your tiny apartment.
Make a splash indoors with the puddle tray. Slush and snow are no match for your carpet or hard wood floors with this puddle shaped shoe organizer. The Puddle Tray is made from durable recyclable plastic that is easy to clean, allows water to evaporate, and is large enough for 5 or 6 pairs of shoes or boots.
These blocks connect using magnets as a modular construction toy that encourages creativity in play.Looking at a cheetah in motion sparked the idea of capturing the dynamic form of an animal into a stationary object.The concept centers on the double-hinging mechanism afforded by having magnetic connections that allow double-sided movement like a Jacob’s Ladder toy through the positions of the magnets as they relate to each other.The concentric arcs and teardrop shape limit the complexity of the individual shapes, while lending itself well to organic modular structures while the concentricity of the shapes allows the blocks to be positioned for easy packaging.
Interested in the concept of self-replicating objects, Yo-yo Mama is an experiment in creating a process that gives birth to a second yo-yo through the act of playing with the object and using rotational molding and vacuum-formed PETG over a CNCed form.
Yo-yo Mama Movie
Musical Mancala borrows the idea of a complex digital based interface of a musical sequencer from a computer screen and translates it into a simpler tactile physical interface for an automatic drum machine. Users simulate percussive instruments using eight Mancala-like pockets around a wooden board. As beads are dropped into each cup like a game of Mancala, music begins to play and an understanding of the musical interface begins to develop indicating eight notes in a looping measure of beats.
Working prototype made with Arduino and magnetic reed sensors
Collaborating with designers Julia Torres and Ben Dayton, this project employed design thinking and user-centered design research to create a wrist-based haptic feedback wearable device for sight-free GPS for the daily bicycle commuter. This involved multiple user interviews with avid urban cyclists and understanding their most important values of Safety, Health, Economy, and Freedom and having them walk-through their commuting process to discover insights and pain-points that led to the development of this concept. This 3-week project occurred in 2014 prior to the release of wearables like the Apple watch and Android Wear devices.
Role: Product Design, 3D Rendering, user interviews
A modern interpretation of the children's game, Telephone or Chinese Whisperers, this project uses a Raspberry Pi single-board computer to illustrate data lost through transmission
By speaking into one can, a microphone transmits live audio voice data converted into text and wirelessly translates the phrase into a foreign language and back to English several times using Google Translate. Within seconds the phrase is played back through a speaker in the opposite can with a slightly altered message often with some of the original meaning lost in the machine translation.
Participated in the News from Nowhere: Chicago Laboratory workshop led by Tokyo-based Takram Design Engineering with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago design students and faculty in 2013. Collaborated with Kathie Chung, Madeline Geftic, and Arianna Petrich to design a writing system for a post-apocalyptic speculative future. The Ossto Escribo would be a subcutaneous bone etching device that could record personal and familial histories long after death. A 3D printed prototype of the device was presented and shown at the Sullivan Galleries at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Role: Concept, Design, and 3D Rendering