Looking Back: Bottle Project ‘Rhythm & Groove’

Hello, my name is Sari Park, I am currently in my third and final semester at Parsons. In this article, I would like to share my process of tackling the Conceptual Bottle Project from my first semester.

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My concept was ‘Rhythm and Groove’.

To begin with, I brainstormed to roughly define my concepts which was: ‘a continuous repetition of beats. The spaces in between constitute the rhythm”
… or something like that. Defining things help me because it gives me keywords I can work with and expand on.

Initially, ‘rhythm’ gave me a more mechanical feel and ‘groove’ meant something more human and alive. However, through my reading research and the conversations during class, I found out that the two concepts were closely tied together and meant more or less the same thing. But the two words remind us of different things!

I listened to things that made me think of rhythm or groove – metronomes, percussion, jazz, soul.

At the same time, I started looking at visual things like old jazz posters. In terms of graphic design research, Josef Müller-Brockmann was a huge influence. His dynamic use of space and abstraction was a great inspiration.

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I made rough sketches to get my impressions and experience onto paper.

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When I came to actually designing the bottles themselves, I tried to keep in mind the fact that I was making something 3 dimensional and that was why started to I look into architecture.

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Shifting the scale definitely helped because it became less about what I see and more about what I felt which was more in tune with music.

Also, I wanted the bottles to have some kind of interaction with the viewer, so naturally, it led me into looking at musical instruments and the structure of them; and I ended up making a pair of maracas/rain sticks.

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When you shake it, it becomes a maracas; when you tip it over, it makes trickling noises as the pins hit the thin wooden sticks.

Everyone has a such a different approach and the process is different with every project, but this line of thinking has become my general design process:

1. define concept + broad research
2. more research…
3. refine concept + sketch …
4. more research …
5. refine concept + more sketches …
6. mockups
7. final

There was a brief moment of doubt around stage 6 & 7, questioning myself why I was piercing holes and inserting sticks into a plastic bottle, but I kept going and now I feel that this is also important. It was a fun project with many learnings!

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