A multi-use quick collapse bag created from material inspirations.
This project focuses on using materials as sources of inspiration for creating a product. The brief required the use of one main and one connecting material. I chose a fairly strong but springy plastic sheet and VHS tape both for their visual constrast and for their contrasting levels of rigidity and maliability.
I started with some quick tests on the interaction of the two materials. Interestingly, although the plastic sheet was clearly the structural dictator of the two, how each of its pieces was connected to the next was reliant on the tape which could vary greatly depending on the length of these connections and the way the tape was arranged.
I focused on the potential implications of how a system of rigid and flexible areas could produce a form. This led me into thinking about bag design as bags often have use for both these material properties and can capitalize on the dynamic nature of their interaction to produce adjustability and have different states.
Stemming from this notion of adjustability, I also explored possible strapping methods that could allow for different methods of carrying.
My first prototype combined the last sketch with the strapping idea. What I found was that, with large surfaces of the more rigid material, the movement was still very limited and the open/close mechanism worked but didn't bring the sense of delight I hoped it might.
Further Development: How I Balanced the Materials Equation
I went back to the drawing board to think about how rigidity and flexibility could influence form. What I needed were smaller rigid units, and with smaller rigid units comes the potential for compactability and an added element of space efficiency for the user.
Hence, going all the way back to the brown paper bag, I focused on the geometry of the rigid pieces and how, when connected with very flexible material, they can collapse and expand to form structure.
I was now, however, faced with two new problems. Firstly, while this new collapsability added spatial efficiency to the user's experience, the time cost was too great to make it effective. Secondly, the current design would not allow for the strap adjustability in the previous iteration.
Then, looking at the geometric structure and the direction of movement in the pieces, I had an idea: what if there was one solution for both of these problems?
Perhaps somewhat ironically, this project that started as a materials experiment has temporarily ended with a prototype that's got minus one, plus two the materials it's started with. However, what's more important are the material properties which allowed the exploration to take the design to such a stage with the understanding that many materials systems with the same complementary properties in rigidity versus flexibility could adopt a similar design.
Programs used for this project include: