06   Flow Form Salad Tongs

An exercise in both physical and digital model making applied to a simple hand tool that balances form and function

Created for:   CMU's Sophomore Spring Products Studio
Term:          February 2019

Exploring the flow form

Using quick expressive sketches helped me to find certain curve relationships that I felt spoke to the qualities salad tongs should embody. After many drawings at various fidelities, I narrowed down the general top and profile views I wanted the form to have. I was then able to project these views onto a perspective drawing to quickly visualize the form.

Understanding ergonomics

I went through several iterations using foam modeling as a means of prototyping before arriving at the final form. I explored several different proportional relationships to find what was most appealing. In addition, feedback from my peers helped me to hone in on a form language that afforded correct use of the tongs and felt good in the hand.

Letting the material guide the process

After cutting both the top and profile views into blocks of wood, I did a lot of shaping with various sanding machines and by hand — letting the material and wood grain guide the curvature. While it was challenging to match the mirrored tongs to one another, the subtle irregularities and differences in wood grain create a special relationship between the two objects.

Translating the physical to digital

While many aspects of the form came somewhat naturally during the analog making process, translating those organic curves to a digital model was a challenge in its own right. I relied heavily on reference images of the physical model, and had to learn quite a few new techniques to model the complex surfaces.