Principles of Three-Dimensional Design: Objects, Space and Meaning

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9780130959751: Principles of Three-Dimensional Design: Objects, Space and Meaning

/9597E-9, 0-13-095975-8, Luecking, Stephen, Object, Space, and Meaning: Principles of Three Dimensional Design/ This book provides a thorough examination of form and organization concepts, and sets them in artistic, cultural, and theoretical contexts. It covers the traditional principles of an introduction to three-dimensional design, but with a slant that shows them to be viable and effective while linked to more contemporary approaches. This necessitates illustrations taken from highly diverse societies, and a large number of examples drawn form nature and science. Chapter topics include problem solving; forms in space; planes in space; organization; surface and relief; mass and void; line and point; color and material; structure; time and kinetics; notes on meaning; place; and virtual space. For use by community art centers, and other teachers of three-dimensional art.

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This text is a thorough introduction to three-dimensional design: the importance of forms and objects in space. It covers the areas of problem solving: form/plane/space relationships. Of equal importance is its unique coverage of functional, cultural, and spatial contexts that condition the meanings we impart in creating objects. Its underlying goal is to provide a practical and theoretical understanding of how objects and the spaces they occupy shape the physical and perceptual nature of our reality.

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The disciplines of three-dimensional design are as varied as the objects that share our world. Between the pure expression of sculpture and the rigorous utility of engineering, between the nanotechnologist and the urban planner, are myriad journeys an author could navigate. This text veers toward the expressive principles of the sculptor, but broaches the logistics of the engineer when needed. Its underlying goal is to provide a practical and theoretical understanding of how the objects and the spaces they occupy shape the physical and perceptual nature of our reality.

We play out our days in an environment awhirl with objects. Rising in the morning we crawl from between sheets and rise from the bed while listening for the weather on the radio. On a side table may rest the reading glasses, book, and lamp from the night before. We start to don the day's clothing and address the shower, commode, washbasin, faucets, mirror, toothbrush, razor, make-up, and bottles, tubes, and jars of lotions and potions. This is just in the first few minutes of the day!

Without these objects we would literally find ourselves naked in the wilderness. There, our first impulse would be to seek clothing, food, and shelter, and to fashion the tools needed to obtain these. We would, of necessity, become three-dimensional designers.

Despite—or perhaps because of—our largely unconscious interaction with an object-ridden environment, objects shape our ideas and perceptions as much as the thoughts that we learn and expound. In his book "Man the Toolmaker," Kenneth Oakley suggests equivalence between objects and ideas in his definition of culture as "the communication of ideas and the manufacture of tools." A particular culture, by this definition, is a unique composite of its ideas and tools and of the systems by which they are propagated.

One reason that this definition works is that, often as not, ideas and things are inseparable. Objects arise from ideas and translate these into actuality. Ideas in turn emerge from relationships observed within and between objects.

The first chapters of this text look within objects for ideas. Chapters 1 through 9 examine the forms and their interrelationships that constitute objects and how these arrangements of forms aid the expressive and practical roles of the objects. Such elements of form as line, plane, surface, mass, material, and structure are examined in individual chapters. The other three chapters of problem solving, form in space, and organization address more general aspects of the interrelationship of form. In sum, these chapters offer the basis for a beginning course in three-dimensional design.

The last four chapters step outside of the objects and look at the nature of objects in time, in their environment, in virtual space, and in the meanings they proffer. All of these have a profound effect on the role and, therefore, the design of objects. These chapters could augment a beginning course or underpin an advanced course in three-dimensional design.

The entire text is laced with references and illustrations to a variety of cultural groups. At first this was intended to round out the student's understanding of the principles covered. As the text progressed, it evolved into simply the best way to teach how form and its making intersect with the finest ideas of human thought. By seeking out these images the author personally gained renewed fascination with objects and spaces and the meanings imparted by their makers.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The author wishes to thank Jalissa Bauman for her tenacious research style and gracious communication skills, and Margaret Lanterman for her patient expertise on the subject of introducing students to the world of form and its implications.

The publisher wishes to thank the following reviewers for their helpful suggestions:

Patrick James Shuck of St. Louis Community College, Meramec Campus; Pamela B. Lowrie of the College of DuPage; Paula Winokur of Beaver College; and Phil Vander Weg of Western Michigan University.

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