Suttle Design
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Nestling: A Kinetic Family Locating Sculpture

 

Nestling is an interactive family locating sculpture. When the family members get closer to home, the petal assigned to them begins to open. The center light illuminates and dims depending upon the sun setting and rising. The petals begin to close and nestle inward when each family member leaves the home. It is a physical representation of the family unit, illustrating that the home is alive and thriving when everyone is home, and the sculpture is in the bloomed position.

 
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About

Nestling is a kinetic family locating sculpture. The sculpture blooms and closes depending upon the location of each family member in relation to the home.  By looking at the sculpture, each family member can tell who is home, and who is not. It is a physical representation of the family unit, illustrating that the home is alive and thriving when everyone is home, and the sculpture is in the bloomed position.

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How can family unity be encouraged?

The family unit is rapidly changing in today’s society. On average, families only spend thirty-four minutes together on a daily basis. This coupled with the average ten plus hours the average American looks at a screen, results in a family unit that does not spend enough quality time together. 

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Time spent together as a family does not have to be extremely active or complicated in order to lead to positive results. Families that spend leisure time together, simply watching TV, spending time together in the same room, etc. (home-based activities), have an increased bond within the family unit. These insights lead to me to develop a product that encouraged families to spend time together, but did not have to be very complicated or involved. The design would be a simple way to encourage families to spend time together in the home.

 

Concept Development

When I began concept development, I wanted to create a physical representation of the family unit, so it was easy to see when the family was together with a single glance.  My initial forms focused on physically removing an element to show which family members were in the home.  From there, the form evolved to have kinetic elements, and less reliance on physical intervention in order to communicate unity. 

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Design Refinement

Visually I wanted the form to be calm and settled, and I wanted any physical interaction to have a similar effect on the user. At this point I research various materials, but settled on using ceramics in this piece. Ceramics are pleasing to hold due to the smooth texture, and they transfer heat from whoever is holding it.

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Final Concept

The sculpture blooms and closes depending upon the location of each family member in relation to the home. The sculpture is only complete when every family member is home. With a quick glance, each family member can tell if everyone is home, depending on if the flower has fully blossomed. As the evening goes on, the center gentle illuminates as the sun sets. The gentle glow illuminates the sculpture, giving physical warmth to the ceramic elements of the sculpture and visual warmth with the golden glow. As the sun rises in the morning, the light gently dims. The petals begin to close and nestle inward when each family member leaves the home.

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Nestling marries physical and digital interaction in order to provide a complete experience. For the family, it is easy to use and not complicated. The setup is simple, simply sync the family members' phones to the app, and the app assigns the petals accordingly.

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The size of Nestling allows you to hold your family in the palm of your hand. The gentle glow illuminates the sculpture, giving physical warmth to the ceramic elements of the sculpture and visual warmth with the golden glow.

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Intentional “flaws” and markings are added to the ceramic elements in order to mimic a handmade feel. Handmade and artisanal items bear the hand of the maker, and these intentional markings give the feel of a handmade ceramic item.

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Nestling is an elegant solution to the decline of family unity. Through physical, digital, and visual interaction, a family can experience a sense of emotional unity.

Mary Suttle/Nestling/2016