CCA MFA Design Exhibition
Exhibition Design
Role: Concept Development, Logo System, Construction/Preparation Manager

The CCA Graduate Design department is transdisciplinary. There are THREE disciplines housed under 1 department: Industrial design, interaction design, and graphic design. The challenge of developing the concept for the exhibition was to cohesively display 30 student's unique engagement with design across a broad spectrum of design media, ideas, and intentions.

Visit the CCA MFA Design Exhibition Website

Because everyone in the program produces work that overlaps the three major disciplines of design, we proposed that the guiding motif of our show be the number THREE.

As a way to organize ourselves, we asked each student "How much are you influenced by industrial, interaction, and graphic design?" on a scale from 1-100. By quantifying these relationships and using them as axis, I wrote a processing script to generate a triangular logo with a unique color for every student.

Together, the individual logos created a color spectrum which positioned the thesis projects in relation to one another and assigned each one a specific gallery space.

The triangles and color spectrum were expressed throughout the show's graphic identity and collateral including, signage, wayfinding, advertisements, catalog,website, and interactive directory.

Exhibition documentation
Chris Yamane and Matt Johnson are most pleased to announce the opening of SUPERDUPERSTUDIO.
SDS operates in-between the traditional disciplines of art and design to create work that is simultaneously accessible, functional, critical, and reflective. We do research-based work, products, books, posters, curated exhibitions, exhibition identities, graphic identities, and speculative projects.

Check us out at
Matt and Chris also colaboratively designed the SUPERDUPERSTUDIO website and algorithmic branding system.
Algorithmic Light Sculptures
3D Printed ABS Plastic, Wood, Acrylic 2-way Mirror, Electronics
Languages: Rhinoscript

Satellites was designed as physically executable procedure for making light sculptures that manifests differently every time it is made. The project is meant to address the problem of uniformity in mass manufactured goods.

Each satellite contains two different kinds of algorithmically-generated 3D-printed joints, each made by spinning hollow cylinders around a point. The cylinders are rotated according to lunar positioning data at the time of 3D printing. The mobiles are then manually-assembled.

Satellites was recently featured on Instructables: Check it out to build one of your own.

The lunar positioning data is relative to the user's position on the earth at the time of 3D printing, making each object time and site specific.
Each implementation of the instructions generates a unique expression. These are just a few of the possibilities.
To assemble each satellite, chance operations were used to determine the number of each joint and the selection of light-diffusing planes. The diffusion planes were taken from Orbit Conditions Drawing #18 but could be taken from any of the Orbit Conditions drawings.
Following the algorithmic generation of the 3D printed parts, a written procedure instructs the user on how to manually assemble the rods, joints, and diffusers. Because the arrangement of joints is extremely sensitive to orientation, and relies on and is constrained by the flexibility of the wood, it is almost impossible to assemble a combination of joints and diffusers the same way twice.

The final result is system for making intended to empower the end user as an active and necessary participant in the design process rather than a passive consumer.
MFA Design Thesis

Languages: Processing, Grasshopper, Rhinoscript

For my MFA design thesis at California College of the arts I explored using procedural systems to generate images and forms, as an alternative to intuitive form-making. My goal was for this methodology to yield surprising results that could not be premeditated.

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In order to develop my methodology, I wrote repeatable sets of instructions and tested their effects on the production of images and objects. These studies included drawings executed by hand, drawings executed by code, and manually-assembled, functional light sculptures made of modular, algorithmically-generated 3D-printed parts.

The procedural mode of working I developed, and the resulting book, were meant to serve as tools for my practice, and ideally other designer’s work, in the future. Building this strategy for design was not an endpoint in itself, but an exploration into some of the avenues for operational form generation. The book layout, typography, and language was designed to reflect the systematic but lighthearted nature of the work.
Orbit Conditions
Lunar procedural design
Found 3D Models, Print
Languages: Rhinoscript

Orbit Conditions was developed as part of my design MFA thesis at CCA.  This project experimented with using procedural design strategies to relate form and content in unexpected ways. The goal of the process was to develop a form language system which related to the content but generated an infinite number of unique expressions.
The forms and procedure are meant to serve as starting points that can be modified to fit a wide range of design contexts. The methods developed in this project are meant to inform my future work. The scores were made by implementing the following instructions.
The set of lunar spacecraft (also used for Moon in Google Earth) was taken from Google’s SketchUp 3D Warehouse. I imported the models into rhino and wrote a RhinoScript to pick objects, generate the required chance values, spin, project, and edit the resulting vectors more quickly than I could do by hand. Because of the chance operations involved, and the ability to choose any 3D model, following these instructions should provide an infinite number of possible outcomes.
John Cage, Score Without Parts (40 Drawing by Thoreau): Twelve Haiku, 1978

The inspiration for using chance to develop scores for objects came from the musical notation of John Cage. His scores (or drawings) were made with chance operations consulting the I-Ching and meant to be ambiguous.
The drawings that resulted are meant to be ambiguous and not specific to any product category or material.
Interpreting the drawings into 3D forms should allow each performance (or translation) of each lunar score to be imagined as lighting, jewelry, satellites, or any number of other objects.
Orbit Conditions: Rules and Regulations book containing instructions, examples,
and data needed to implement the process
Light frequencies to sound
Role: Industrial Design, Software Design, Art Direction
Sound Design: Benjamin Lichtner
Consulting Physicist: Michael Wagman
Aluminum, Plastic, Glass, Electronics
Languages: Processing, Supercollider

The Wassiliscope measures light frequencies from our visible range and
translates them into their corresponding frequency in our audible range.

Check it out on Gizmodo / Designboom
The Wassiliscope analyzes the average frequency of light waves in the center of the telescope's viewport with an embedded camera and maps that frequency to its corresponding audible frequency.
The frequency is then sent through a triangle wave oscillator and out to the headphones.
Watch this demonstration video to hear some lemons.
There is a long history of exploring synesthesia in work by painters such as Wassily Kandinsky in his Composition VIII (1928), but, being a designer, I wanted to see if it was possible to create a tool to listen to color. There is software that uses spectral analysis of images to produce sound such as Max/MSP/Jitter, but no physical tools that can be interacted with intuitively in real time.
I made the Wassiliscope to explore the link between material and concept. I often thought of sound and color as linked, but hadn't made the connection that both are literally the same material (waves).
Scores for 20736 Objects
3D Printing, Book, Printed Materials
Languages: Processing

Scores for 20736 objects was an exploration into algorithmically generating 2D guidelines that sit somewhere between the ambiguity of a sketch and the prescription of a technical drawing. The scores were made by splitting 12 projections of a cube into 4 quadrants each, and combining each option for each quadrant in all possible permutations using a Processing script. The process resulted in 20736 unique scores.
These forms are meant to serve as compositional guidelines for 3D objects, just as a score provides the structure for a musical composition. In order to isolate the effects of the process, I chose to modify as neutral a form as possible.
The scores were made by splitting 12 projections of a cube into 4 quadrants each, and combining each option for each quadrant in all possible permutations using a Processing script. The cube projections I used were made using Rhino to rotate the cube at 15° increments at 2 different perspectives before dividing.
The original instructions are meant to be a little ambiguous to leave some room for interpretation.  If someone else were to complete the process, or translate any of these forms into 3D, they should end up with a completely different set of shapes than I would.
Generating the 2D scores as an intermediate step before translating them back into 3D provides another layer of interpretation to create an infinite number of possible outcomes.  This is a small selection of forms I translated into 3D prints myself in Rhino. I would eventually like to have others translate them as well.
Posters of all 20736
Value Perception @ SF MoMA
Colored Pencil and Ink on Paper

Value Perception @ SF MoMa is a map exploring the definition of value in the fine art world.
I wanted to explore how subjective monetary value was, especially in art.
The map shows works of art in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art based on their perceived value. Not their actual market value (I found out the hard way that museums are VERY secretive about that sort of thing). Each piece was appraised my me without any (extra) research in preparation for my museum visit.
On my visit to SF MoMA, I estimated each work's value based on five personal criteria:

1. How influential I believed it to be in the history of art
2. The individual work's importance in the artist's body of work
3. The medium
4. How many were produced
5. How much I liked it
The first four are influenced by other's appreciation of the work but was heavily outweighed by my personal level of appreciation. These appraisals are biased by my knowledge of art history, past experiences, and the fact that I am an artist/designer myself. Mapping the perceived value of works, rather than their market value, turns out to reveal patterns about the kind of artist/designer I am, what types of works I have knowledge of and appreciate, and how that compares to the viewer's art awareness and appreciation.

Although we each judge works of art based on different, personal criteria, we do know that "good art" is worth a lot of money.

Download the full writeup (PDF)
Memorial for Pluto
Radio from Earth to Pluto in 4 hrs. 27 min. 6 sec.
Role: Industrial Design, Circuit Design, Art Direction
Concrete, Acrylic, Metal, Electronics, Letters
Collaboration with Rèal Provencher and Michael Wagman

A call was sent for friends and followers of Fragile Studios to write apology/farewell letters to Pluto in conjunction with a memorial event for the planet. During the event, the letters were translated into Morse code by Rèal Provencher and transmitted via home-made, high frequency radio from the Ladd Observatory at Brown University. With the help of my friend and physicist Michael Wagman, calculations were made for aiming the radio transmissions. The messages were calculated to arrive at Pluto in 4 hrs. 27 min. 6 sec.
I was talking to my friend Rèal Provencher about planets and the moon. He told me Pluto wasn't considered a planet anymore because it was captured by the Sun's gravity instead of breaking apart from the Sun like the other planets in our solar system. I thought that was sad because as a kid, we always grew saying My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas and now there was no pizza. Pluto was always my favorite and I didn't like that it wasn't considered a planet anymore.
I wanted to design some kind of memorial for it.
Since I knew I wanted to make a memorial for Pluto, I had to look up what kinds of forms and materials were typically used in memorials and what kinds of rituals people have around them, and more information about Pluto. I had to figure out its path, when it was going to be visible in the sky, and what kinds of relationships people had with it. For the ceremony, I thought a good way to honor Pluto would be to have people write goodbye letters to it.
I knew the memorial should be made with some kind of stone or concrete (like most memorials are)
but it also had to communicate its purpose visually.
Since not everyone could make it to the memorial ceremony, the project also existed in artifacts, anecdotes and,
myths about what Memorial For Pluto actually was.
We popped some bottles of champagne while everyone read their goodbye letters aloud and Rèal translated them
into Morse code for beaming into space. After each letter was read, we re-calculated and adjusted the
launch angle to make sure Pluto would keep receiving our messages as it orbited.
Saturn Wine Glasses
When you get tipsy, these cups won't

Product design for spill-proof wine glasses.
Check them out on Designboom
In 2010, I spent the summer working at the Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York as one of their glassblowers. Corning is an incredible glass company and they have a huge glass library that's available to all of their employees. So, on my days off I would go to the library and learn about glass history and its techniques. I found an interesting technique traditionally used for making lids to goblets and reliquaries that I wanted to practice.
I decided to try and use this technique for something new so that I could practice at the same time as making something I was excited about. I decided to ask myself, "how can I re-appropriate the lid making technique for use in the design of a modern vessel."

When I started prototyping, I was actually trying to make the this wine glass, but with a stem on it (seen in the middle top of the previous set of sketches), and I managed to make a few, but not all of them came out right. It was pretty difficult for my skill level at the time, so some of the stems fell off. I was bummed that my glasses didn't come out how I imagined, but the next day, when I accidentally knocked one over, I discovered, the stemless ones got stopped by the ring! I modified my design and went back to the studio.
A few months later, back at RISD, I still had the idea and the prototype, but it was pretty clear to me that I didn't know the proper way to do the lid/saturn ring technique properly since mine were a little lumpy at first.
With the help of Chris Taylor, my glassblowing instructor, I figured out a better way to make the glasses more evenly, and more consistently until I reached the final iterations and started making them in limited runs.

Next Steps:
Since I've had to make them by hand so far, I would like to lathe a wooden blow mold to pseudo-mass produce them like they would in a traditional Czech style glass factory to reduce the fabrication time and skill required.

My name is Christopher Yamane. I grew up in Honolulu, I live in San Francisco, and I come from a background in Venetian glassblowing. As a graphic and industrial designer, I believe in shattering the separation between science, art, and design by making work that is simultaneously accessible, functional, critical, and reflective. I frequently employ a variety of programming languages, natural language instructions, and chance operations as a way to design physical objects and images. By experimenting with design and fabrication systems, rather than focussing on predetermined outcomes, I generate unexpected solutions that do not bow to passing trends.

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Gizmodo: Wassiliscope
Designboom: Wassiliscope
Designboom: Saturn Glasses