Mango was about working with scale. How do you build the same model in different sizes (small scale, hand-sized, and human-sized)? There were three primary phases of the project: Designing a microscope for building, finding an appealing image taken with our device, and building a model that represents that image in three sizes.
This is a representation of Trader's Joes' freeze-dried mango slices.
If you cut into some of the pieces, you will notice that the cross sections are actually very intricate and delicate, which contrast their outer layers. To take photos, I would have to build a device that would allow my phone to take photos of these tiny structures--basically a DIY microscope.
After multiple iterations (Part One and Part Two) where I had to pay close attention to focusing and positioning, I reached the point where my microscope was fully functional. I used some sticky droplets to stick to the camera lens in order to magnify the images.
Now that the microscope was built, I started taking photos.
I found it so interesting that we take items for what they are, without thinking about the patterns and textures on the small scale. I scouted the studios, taking photos of as many seemingly mundane objects as I could.
I made sure to vary the objects--from organic to man-made. In addition to the freeze-dried mangos, I took photos of pin needles, grape stems, bubbles, freeze-dried strawberries, twine, and several others.
To proceed to the next step of the project, I eventually narrowed down the images to the first one, the freeze-dried mango! I was drawn to its organic patterns and layered fibers. (They reminded me of bread) I wanted to display those qualities in my models.
Trying to understand the makeup of the mango interiors, I observed and researched a few construction methods–including the cardboard deer pictured in the sketchbook page, where flat planes were wedged into each other to make the x, y, and z axis.
I also drew a few of the textures seen on the mangos to familiarize myself with the pattern, noticing that there are no perfect circles in the images at all.
I chose to create the membrane over the pores, since the former shaped the freeze-dried mango structure.
I began this process by experimenting with cutting the pointed holes as described in the previous photoset by experimenting with contrast of size in order to make the pattern more visually pleasing.
I experimented with other material, such as cardboard. However, the end product wasn’t too appealing–the thickness couldn't create the same intricate effect I was looking for.
I decided to proceed with paper instead.
The model was definitely interesting in these angles, but I added a third axis to make the structure more visually appealing. Also, because I had to scale this much larger later, the handheld model had to be smaller.
I wasn't too worried that the models are not immediately recognizable as freeze-dried mangos. I found the abstract concept draws in more attention and appeal.
Because this current model started losing its shape, I started reworking a different one to fit the shape more snugly when rolled. This worked after resizing the paper size and the proportions of the cut holes.
To begin this next model, I had to test the limits of what the 3D printer and the lasercutter in our facilities can do. Because the model is essentially a rolled up material, I decided to lasercut and/or 3D print a flat material and roll it manually. It would work especially well for the 3D printer since pores are much harder to produce. Afterwards, I could carefully attach smaller bits and pieces in the tube structure to simulate the handheld model.
I started testing how small I can make the holes on the lasercutter first. It didn’t go so great. I even tried making the holes more uniform and experimented with size. It almost worked, until I realized that it was missing the key factor that made the other models so aesthetically pleasing--how there were no two identical pores.
After some tinkering with a found sheet of copper, I found out that I could use an Exacto blade to manually cut some holes out, and just bend it into a little roll.
Building the large-scale model was definitely quite the process. After 50 hours of cutting thick paper by hand, I finally managed to cut these shapes into a roughly a 8ft by 9ft board. Producing the final result may have been a tedious task, but I took some good photos along the way. Check out my process here!
Although this took quite a while, I definitely will argue that this was a rewarding experience. Although I could have taken advantage of a lasercutter, I trusted my hands would create a more organic piece since I was using my wrist movement to create the curves of the pattern.