Name: Shrishti Tijaria
(Industrial Design Student, 4th Semester)
Institution: National Institute of Design, Andhra Pradesh
Course: Nature and Form
Duration: 2 weeks (13th July 2020- 25th July 2020)
Guide: Snehal Joshi

DRAGON FRUIT

As a part of my Nature and Form course, I chose to study dragon fruit. Earlier in the two weeks of the course (before lockdown), I studied the fruit in terms of its evolution, different parts, types, colors and textures, followed by some explorations of the form with wire and paper.

Explorations with Wire
Explorations with Paper

The dragon fruit has a dramatic appearance, with bright red, purple or yellow-skinned varieties and prominent scales. The fruit is oval, elliptical or pear-shaped. The flesh has a subtly flavored sweet taste or sometimes slightly sourish taste. The flesh is either white or red, with edible black seeds dotted all over.

The key attributes or the unique features that help in identifying a dragon fruit are:

  • color
  • bracts (scales)

According to me, these characteristics of the dragon fruit are best identified in its cross-section. Not only are the contrasting colors prominent in this view, but also the bracts, the seeds and the shape of the fruit can be identified.

The reason for choosing this view was also because people relate to the inside (flesh) more than the outside — it is not a common fruit at home and is seen being served in slices at events and parties. Also, I feel that a fruit’s identity (fruits which need to be peeled before consumption) is largely influenced by how it looks or how it is from the inside. For instance, kiwi fruit is identified to be green (inside) and not brown (outside).

Since the key features listed before are a part of the fruit and are not in correspondence to its form, here are the key features as formal attributes:

  • dramatic
  • bulbous
  • contrast

Now the task was to simplify the form by abstraction, retaining the formal attributes while minimizing lines. Abstraction is the gist, crux or the juice of anything which showcases the highlights, details and features of the whole while retaining its overall feel.

EXPLORATION-1

In the above exploration, I feel the overall form lost its essence because of too many lines in the outcome. I focused on highlighting the bracts of the fruit and used different line weights to achieve it.

EXPLORATION-2

For the above exploration, closure property works well and the form seems to retain the key features. I started off with drawing the form in a single line but it engulfed the whole form, away from abstraction, so later I broke the lines. Playing with the line weight could make the strokes energetic making it more dramatic and so I tried another variation of it.

EXPLORATION-3

For the above exploration, I tried to focus on half of the exterior and the interior layer of the fruit. I achieved this by omitting lines from both sides of opposite layers and for the end form, I made the curves smooth, drawing it in a single line. I feel the second last form has more contrast and looks more dramatic than the last one. The bulge on the sides is emphasized and a contrast can be seen between the smooth bulged line and the rugged line.

EXPLORATION-4

Here I tried to make the strokes more fluid and after removing the inner stroke, the from still looks bulbous. The lower region with smaller strokes creates a contrast with the long strokes in the upper region, being almost in the same number. Closure can be seen and the form looks static because of the tiny curves at the end of the strokes, which seem to hook to the form.

EXPLORATION-5

In this exploration, I chose to draw the mid-lines of the bracts and again eliminated the inner layer towards the end. The form looks bulbous and lines going in different directions seem to look dramatic and creates movement.

EXPLORATION-6

This exploration was derived from a form in exploration-4. I inverted the weight of the shapes from top to bottom as the bracts branch out from the bulbous body. These strokes give the form flow and movement which is in contrast to the static form of the fruit.

EXPLORATION-7

This exploration is an adaptation of exploration-2 wherein I tried to break from smooth curved lines to straight lines. I replaced all the curved lines with straight lines to see the difference in the meaning of the form. I observed that the crooked lines made the form look more rigid and hard.

I also experimented some of the earlier explorations with straight lines. I observed that the overall feel is lost because of the rigidness and the feel is not retained as compared to the ones with curved lines.

EXPLORATION-8

For this exploration, I simplified the form in basic shapes. Initially I overlapped all the shapes to see how the form interacts which looked chaotic. Later I placed them in a way that gives depth. I observed color played a major aspect in identification of the form. The final form (without color) looks dynamic and does seem to retain the feel. The sharpness of the bracts is contrasted with the round, smooth and bulbous body. The straight lines in this exploration added to the identification of the key features.

EXPLORATION-9

For the above exploration, I filled the outer layer and tried to simplify the edges with arcs and lines. Towards the end, I had achieved a form composition comprising of similar shapes. The form became less bulbous in the final line drawing and different sizes and directions of shapes make it look dramatic. Because of the different directions and angles of the shapes, the form appears to be in motion. I feel the middle horizontal line is distracting a bit and seem to break the harmony.

EXPLORATION-10

This exploration is in continuation to the previous one. Because the horizontal line in the middle was distracting, I replaced it with an arc to depict the bulbous body. Drawing an offset inside the oval shape unified the form well. In comparison to the previous exploration outcome which created movement, this form looks static and the ring seems to hold other shapes in place. The third form looks more solid than the fourth one which suggests hollowness or depth because of the ring.

EXPLORATION-11

In this exploration, I tried to give some shadow when the sketch is extruded. I did not achieve it well because of making the shadows on the same side but I continued to see how the form would be abstracted. The final form looks fluid and soft because of the curved and blunt lines. It also gives the feel of chaos because of too many lines and thus look childlike too.

EXPLORATION-12

Here I emphasized on just the bracts and how they branch out from the fruit with smaller bracts at the bottom to longer ones at the top. The bracts in the fruit are either strongly held out, slightly held out or adpressed. I tried achieving the same. The closure formed by the bracts encloses the bulbous body. After observation, I associated the first form with growth, emergence and expansion. The second form looks sharp, thorny and prickly because of the thinner shapes. The third form looks soft and gives a sense of care and protection with inward curves. All the forms look balanced because of the symmetry. It was interesting to note how the qualities totally reversed with a change in the direction of the shapes.

EXPLORATION-13

Here I filled the solid shapes from the forms explored in the above exploration and tried to see if the solid shapes convey the same meaning. I feel that in all three forms, the oval body is emphasized in the negative space because of the closure created from the solid shapes. The first form gives a feeling of sharpness and roughness, the second form looks hairy and sleek, whereas the third form looks conservative, smooth and bumpy in comparison. The third form can also be perceived as being attacking and dangerous because of the pointy claw-like structure.

EXPLORATION-14

In this exploration, I tried to slice the form into planes. It gives the sketch some depth. The form lost its bulbous-ness but drama is still retained because of the varying sizes of the discs. There is contrast as well because the bracts seem to look endless whereas the body seem to suggest a form. The overall form looks like steps leading to a way, pointing towards the upward direction which creates movement.

EXPLORATION-15

This exploration looks more like a blob with curved forms. It looks childlike and the bulbous-ness is still retained. The first one resembles like a zoomed part of hair growing from a surface and thus suggest growth. It looks soft and fluid and also looks like a creepy crawling insect which gives tickling sensation. The second one has also abstracted towards an insect which does not look attacking but static because of the fillets. It is also suggesting some direction making a ‘U’ with the positive and negative spaces. Both the forms look balanced because of the symmetry.

Rough Work

Here is a peak into my rough sketches and notes that helped me achieve the above explorations.

The next part of the assignment was to use the abstraction to stylize either a teapot or a table lamp keeping the user in mind.

I conceptualized on both the objects as I was unsure which one to choose.

TABLE LAMP CONCEPTUALIZATION

Table lamp concepts

TEA POT CONCEPTUALIZATION

Main components of a teapot:

  • spout
  • handle
  • knob

Qualities of a good teapot:

  • holds water
  • pours easily and consistently without spilling
  • lid doesn’t fall off while pouring
  • easily cleanable

Because of the dramatic appearance of the fruit, I was curious to play with the color contrast that the fruit has. But keeping the color of the tea pot as that of the fruit would affect or play with the color of the tea as well.

Hence, I decided to explore with the color of the tea and did some research on different colored tea that could match with the color of the fruit.

Initially, I was exploring in context to India and found that Kashmir is famous for its ‘pink tea’ which is so popular that it is consumed twice a day.

To my surprise, I found that no color is added to the tea but ‘baking soda’ that reacts with the chlorophyll of the tea leaves and produces a dark red color. When milk is added, it turns pink and because some salt is also added to it, one has to adapt to its savory taste.

Looking in terms of color, dragon fruit looks much brighter.

So, I explored more and found three different types of teas.

  • Hibiscus Tea
  • Purple Tea
  • Rooibos Tea

Coincidentally, all three teas have their roots from Africa.

Since the dragon fruit is juicy and has translucent flesh, I decided to move further with these teas as they are not only vibrant in color, but also are water based, making the association to the fruit stronger.

Different colored translucent flesh
  • USER- People who drink hibiscus tea, purple tea or rooibos tea
  • LOCATION- Living room, garden table
  • PURPOSE- Adding drama to the process of pouring tea

While conceptualizing, I decided to incorporate some inspiration from the African pots. I also tried to retain the dramatic attribute of the dragon fruit.

When pouring tea inside the tea pot, the tea would fill in the small cup-like structure in the center which has holes on the bottom. With the force of the liquid poured, the tea would escape from the holes and hit the outer surface of the pot creating a leaf like form, giving a resemblance to a petal or bract. Because of the translucency of the tea, the seed texture on the inner surface will be reflected from the liquid, suggesting the juicy and translucent flesh of the fruit. The handle is shaped in a way to look like a bract continuing in the lid.

The hollow space created in between the pot can serve as a space for the tea light to be kept. Since all the three teas mentioned above can also be served cold, the tea light will help to heat the tea whenever it needs to be served hot.

Another interesting finding was that the purple tea, made from butterfly pea flowers, is actually blue in color when prepared and turns purple instantly when lemon is added to it.

So before pouring the blue tea to the tea pot, some lemon slices can be placed in the small cup-like structure of the pot and while pouring, there is a sense of drama created when the tea starts to change the color as it hits the lemon and trickles down in the pot.

Thus, the tea pot will have the resemblance of the geometry of the fruit, the shape of the bract, the color of the flesh and the texture of the seeds.

For a better understanding of the concept and form, I made a 3D render.

I wasn’t able to incorporate the seed texture in the above renders. After modelling it on the software, I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome as I couldn’t deliver the overall feel that I had envisioned.

So, I decided to work further on the below exploration of the lamp.

The form is of the polar zonohedron where the shapes have been extruded inside to its offset. The individual units create a hollow inverted truncated rhombus pyramid. The inner surface of the units have the seeds texture inspired by the seeds of the dragon fruit. The structure will be made of translucent sheets so that the light reflecting from inside disperses into the atmosphere with the pattern of seeds. There will be individual switches in each unit so that the amount of light can be adjusted according to the surroundings.

Sketch model in process…

Industrial Design Student, National Institute of Design, Andhra Pradesh