b r e a t h e/tension

2022 | DES 211 | Design Media I w/Riley Baechler

Task: to become familiar with laser cutting tools/capabilities by creating a "sticks & skins"  model (limited to 2 materials) of an assigned body organ. The model is also to be paired with visual assembly instructions without the use of words.


Assigned to model the lungs, the concept in mind that I designed with was a reflection of how fellow classmates were feeling at the time - body in constant tension, sensitive to any amount of stress, hard to take a breathe. This model is intended to be a literal representation of tension in the body, embodying the idea of sensitivity under stress. The hand-scored sharp edges appearing to threaten the expansion of the “lungs” are only visible upon close inspection - analogous to my peers feeling that their stress often goes unnoticed.

For the overall design of the lungs model, I performed a more systematic approach by using a methodical string system suspended by acrylic frames. Composed of yarn and acrylic, the unique combination of materials provide a distinct and eye catching contrast in its composition.


    • 3D modelling of acrylic planes done in Rhino7 
    • Lasercutting: Planes are first prototyped in chipboard before being cut from 3mm clear acrylic
    • Each of the 16 planes have two sets of 10 holes cut into them, equating to 320 holes total
    • Red yarn threaded through 320 holes in arithmetic progression (hole number “1” was marked on each set to use as a reference point)
    • Model is secured with four spines inserted in each edge with epoxy glue
    • Visual assembly instructions drawn in Adobe Illustrator using graphics modelled in Rhino7

Model Assembly Instructions