Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Constructing the Props

During our story Simon builds two inventions, a Hang-glider and a Boat. Conveniently, Leonardo da Vinci designed a flying device that greatly resembles a hang-glider. I took this invention and adapted it so it became possible for Simon to have built it using the resources of a tropical island. The hardest part was replacing the fabric with a viable source. Upon my research of palm trees I found that 2 main leaf types existed, a typical leaf shape but very large and a long twig with smaller leaves branching out.

Over-sized Leaves
Small, long leaves on stem

I explored both possibilities in the design but feel the that the normal leaf would be too delicate and the weaving of the other leave provides a stronger cloth. 

This image demonstrates how this method of palm leaf weaving is used in the modern world
Palm Tree Weaving

Next challenge was the boat. I read through H. Anna Suh's collected works of da Vinci's notebooks (Leonard's Notebook, Suh : 2009) to find inspiration but he never explored anything floatation wise. So I was challenged to create a device that would function but also had the finesse of a da Vinci invention. The boat in the story need only carry them across a lake and isn't needed for long time/ repeated use so logically only a raft would be needed but as a studio we felt it needed to be more elaborate without being a full on boat with bowed wood and flooring. Here are my sketches exploring the boat:

I tried different shapes but found a way the the two characters could build a conventional shape boat that would float. By interlocking the palm tree stems and cutting them to form a comb joint. This would be hard to make water tight so the addition of two buoyancy aids on either side keep it afloat. The sail will be made of the same weaved fabric from the hang-glider. I'll be making up a very simple model in maya to demonstrate the construction for my studio.
Comb Joint

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