Well, 2015 is almost gone (“The glass is half empty”) and my new year’s resolution was to, in some way, generate publicity about the 100 year birthday of the UC Berkeley Campanile. As an alumni of such a great school I have created the above symbolic comic strip titled “Identity.” I identify myself as an alumni but my identity goes far beyond just where I went to school. I also identify myself as a Nigerian–American designer who believes that “great design can save humanity.” That said, my design philosophy tends to incorporate three nouns that begin with the letter T: Tradition, Technique, and Technology; which, I feel, are also crucial aspects of defining identity in design.
Visually, the series of renderings in “Identity” chronicle the conversation between two stylized balloon characters, Cue (as in Cue Ball) and Lite (as in Miller Lite). Paul Debevec, another alumni of Cal, was famous for using a balloon-mounted camera technique to capture images of the Campanile which were stitched virtually to create a 3D version of the clock tower. The Virtual Snube Cube (by HAINSO, an LLC) used as a backdrop for Cue and Lite has a design that took inspiration from the geometric form of the Campanile at Cal. This Virtual Cube has been paired (in the strip) to form a contiguous surface which projects a background image of floating balloons through an optical illusion technique (angled projection surface, in plan, yet a continuous representation of the floating balloons, in a three point perspective).
Technically, I use the software 3DS Max 2015, by Autodesk – the humanoid characters in the strip now come bundled with the Software package and are animated using crowd simulation technology – which was the same software (but an earlier version by Discreet Logic Inc.) I used to teach and present as a student at Cal. Using this type of technology helps me identify my architectural technique of “idea-tion” (or creating ideas) while keeping the Cal tradition of multidisciplinary integration by associating with other industries, like the animation industry, and maintaining a rigorous use of proportions and dimensionality.
Socially, the dialogue represents my version of Cal identity with moments of clarity (things are not always black and white), levity (have fun and laugh) and brevity (Carpe Diem – Seize the day!). The dialogue, using formal language and verbal language (Not including the scripting language, Maxscript, used by the software), also represents the idea of diversity through freedom of expression, like the freedom of speech or like the freedom of ideas (like balloons) to float freely and not be weighed down by social injustice. Diversity is known to improve growth in nature, in society, and even in technology.
Finally, architecture has been way too static and, in the digital age, needs to be more dynamic and identified as being much more adaptable to changing technology; like more and more technological improvements (curved screens, etc) to come in 2016.