COMD3504 - Section OL10 - Spring 2021

Author: Darriel Bleasdille (Page 1 of 2)

Assignment 12


Pier Alessio Rizzardi & Zhang Hankun (TCA Think Tank). “An Interview with MAD Architects’ Ma Yansong: Constructing Icons, Identity & China’s Future Cities.” ArchDaily, ArchDaily, 3 Apr. 2014,

FITTING, PETER. “Urban Planning/Utopian Dreaming: Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh Today.” Utopian Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, 2002, pp. 69–93. JSTOR, Accessed 11 May 2021. 

“Livestream: Ma Yansong x Thomas Heatherwick.” Architects, Not Architecture., 11 Dec. 2020,

Hee, Limin, et al., editors. Future Asian Space: Projecting the Urban Space of New East Asia. NUS Press, 2012. JSTOR, Accessed 12 May 2021.

“Cities to Megacities: Perspectives.” CTBUH Journal, no. 4, 2016, pp. 20–29. JSTOR, Accessed 12 May 2021.

Shen, Jinzhen, and Jiawen Yang. “BUILDING DESIGN IN BEIJING: TOUCHING THE PULSE OF INTERNATIONALIZATION.” Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, vol. 28, no. 1, 2011, pp. 17–27. JSTOR, Accessed 12 May 2021.
Mun-Delsalle, Y-Jean. “How Chinese Architect Ma Yansong Is Reinventing Housing In Beverly Hills.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 4 Oct. 2020,

Assignment 11

According to Heller the concept of mainstream vs underground is an interesting one when coming to contemporary design. He believes that there is a never ending cycle, where the mainstream design is always going to be influenced by the underground design. When this happens the underground gets bumped up into mainstream industry; taking it to a new level. This can be good for the world, for instance; a designer created a chair to prevent spine curving, now the world is able to have it available to them. On the other hand, bad; think about the underground image of a new york or chicago drill rapper in contemporary music today, displaying automatic rifles. The way the mainstream industry has incorporated and advertised this underground image into the mainstream world it is doing more harm than good. Currently having young children growing up thinking it is cool to have and shoot guns. Most of the time the industry takes small aspects of the underground and merges it with the mainstream; this new combination when created is the next new style. Then the cycle of life continues, there will be a new underground design soon developed, and the mainstream will  be right there waiting to buy into it once again. One can say the mainstream gets inspired by the underground designers, wanting to stay “cool” and relevant in the contemporary world.

The designer I am going to address is named Ma Yansong. I believe he fits into this dichotomy as an underground artist. Solely, because his work is not standardized or considered the norm in the industry as yet. Over the years, his recent work around the world has begun to get recognition, raising some eyes in the mainstream world. With this recognition he was able to get investors to fund some of his projects he was contracted for. As recently as 2020, he worked on his first project on American soil. This is to show that his work is still in the process from underground to mainstream.

I believe the work in question is currently in the underground category. Ideally, Ma Yansong’s new contemporary style of architecture is mainly influenced by three designers/ architects/engineers named; Zaha Hadid, Bao Pao and Antonio Gaudi. Yansong’s love for the free sensational curve is the reason we get to witness these magnificent round shaped buildings. He believes it’s not just him that has a love for curves but the world does, but for him it is the; curves of the rivers in his country, the curves of the  clouds in the sky and the curves of his favorite parts on a woman’s body. Yansong mentioned this himself in an interview he did with Architects Not Architecture. He also mentioned some of his influence for creating round shaped buildings comes from the design of an “old liquid yogurt bottle” he used to drink as a child; the design always stood out to him. 

In my opinion, the work in question is touching the borders of the mainstream at the moment, I also think it is inspiring the young architects to come to think differently. The impact it is going to have on the industry is huge, seeing that society is astonished and responding to this new contemporary style of architecture in a positive light. Lastly, the design is said to help society move forward in terms of better buildings and housing architecture.

Most of Ma Yansong’s work can be viewed as futuristic designs. Similarly to Le Corbusier, a Swiss French architect/ designer, who was responsible for what we know as modern architecture today influenced the world and helped standardized architecture. “A radical reconstruction of the cities would solve not only the urban crisis of their time, but the social crisis as well”, mentioned in an article about Le Corbusier’s futuristic ideals by Peter Fitting. I believe that Ma Yansong’s futuristic designs have the same influence and trajectory to do the same for our future especially since his architectural designs are making housing more efficient.


“Livestream: Ma Yansong x Thomas Heatherwick.” Architects, Not Architecture., 11 Dec. 2020,

Pier Alessio Rizzardi & Zhang Hankun (TCA Think Tank). “An Interview with MAD Architects’ Ma Yansong: Constructing Icons, Identity & China’s Future Cities.” ArchDaily, ArchDaily, 3 Apr. 2014,

FITTING, PETER. “Urban Planning/Utopian Dreaming: Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh Today.” Utopian Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, 2002, pp. 69–93. JSTOR, Accessed 11 May 2021. 

Hee, Limin, et al., editors. Future Asian Space: Projecting the Urban Space of New East Asia. NUS Press, 2012. JSTOR, Accessed 12 May 2021.

Group Discussion

Do you have a topic in mind for your presentation?

  • Futurism

What sort of design would you like to address, ie. graphic, industrial, architectural, advertising, etc.?

  • Architecture

Is there an ad, a design project, or the work of a particular designer that has recently been inspiring to you?

  • Ma Yansong

Have you completed any recent design projects that were particularly exciting or interesting? If so, did you view any examples or samples of related design work? 

  • I found Ma yansong, while I was working on an ad campaign for immigrants. His work stood out to me, his craft is rather unique. As a student of this class it interests me to think about his style and his design and possibly who inspired him or who he thinks similarly to from the reading we did in class. 

 Which readings from this class have you found to be the most relevant or resonant?

  • Most of the reading on futurism. Including designers like; Aleksander Rodchenko, Müller-Brockmann, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, El Lissitzky and Karl Gerstner.

Assignment 9

Etymology – the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history. 

Polysemy – the coexistence of many possible meanings for a word or phrase.

Rudimentary – involving or limited to basic principles.

Imitari – Image has its roots in the Latin word imitari, meaning “to copy or imitate”.

Agglutination – the clumping of particles. The word agglutination comes from the Latin agglutinare. Agglutination is the process that occurs if an antigen is mixed with its corresponding antibody called isoagglutinin. This term is commonly used in blood grouping.

Connoted – imply or suggest (an idea or feeling) in addition to the literal or primary meaning.

Denoted – be a sign of; indicate.

Linguistics – the scientific study of language and its structure, including the study of morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics. 

Diegesis – a narrative or plot, typically in a movie.

Autonomous –  having the right or power of self-government an autonomous territory. b : undertaken or carried on without outside control : self-contained an autonomous school system. 

Anthropology – the study of human societies and cultures and their development. the study of human biological and physiological characteristics and their evolution.

Lexicon –  the vocabulary of a person, language, or branch of knowledge.

Assignment 07

McLuhan reading was quite an interesting one, his ideologies on media and the concepts around it were rather unique. “All media are extensions of some human faculty psychic or physical”, here McLuhan is expressing his beliefs. I believe media is an extension to human beings/ humanity in the way that the media is able to be used by the physical body and mind. Without the body the media is non-existing, it needs the body to be fully functional. One good example of this is the shoes we wear on our feet; the shoes are an extension to our feet, they help protect us from the cold, hot and hard ground. Another good example is vehicle wheels, those can also be seen as extensions of our feet. The internet and art can be placed into this category as well, one can say that they are an extension of our mind. 

One of the major hazards that might come with technological progress is the effect it has on the older generation using technology. They are going to have a tougher time living in a progressive technological society compared to any other group, because they are using today’s technology with yesterday’s tools; which puts them at a disadvantage when coming to modern opportunities. Another big problem that may stem from technological progress is the idea of “limiting one’s creativity/ imagination”;  because of this, a lot of the same concepts and inspirations are going to circulate within the design systems creating too many similarities. Thirdly, I believe because technology has already made it easy to produce mast media, the quantity of media may be overwhelming and can in turn lead to misinformation if users are not mindful of their resources. I think the best advice for the new generation is to try and create new content that hasn’t been seen before, experiment. 

Media plays a big role as an influencer towards people in our society, with this knowledge McLuhan believes designers have a duty to use this information in a responsible way. The work of a designer can be subordinate to the media they use to distribute the information, in the way that this first original piece of media is no longer the latest most current version of that creativity idea. Although the work of the designer was the birth of that particular creative idea, technology made it possible for the new version to pick up a life of its own (I feel like the artist design/ the first media is like a mother figure). With the wide variety in social media platforms today, the designer has to choose carefully which version of his media he is focusing on and which platform he is going to use to distribute it, because today with a large number of medium it is more effective focusing on one media version at a time.

Assignment 06

According to “The New Typography” by Jan Tschichold, clarity should be the most important aspect when coming to design. This was interesting to me because it opposes the old way of typography at that time, who held “beauty” to a pedestal, Tschichold believes that the most essential aspect of the new typography is its clarity; this should be the design this way. He believes this is important because of the vast number of prints being manufactured in our world today. Tschichold new form of design involving “high level” clarity in typography was impactful in the way that it made it easier, quicker and more proficient  for the audience to intercept a message. He believes that this view of design should be the new way going for it.

Karl Gerstner took a systematic approach when coming to graphic design, as a boy longed to be a chemist, he incorporated science into his design; merging them together. He invented a comprehensive system that focuses on design solutions, for all different types of design problems. Gerstner was also a believer of technology, his method of creating solutions was based on the idea that “for no problem (so to speak) is there an absolute solution”; he understood that there is not always one fix to a problem, there is always a group of solutions that can be executed, one better than the other depending on the situation. The “morphological box” was the name of his invention. He also believes that analyzing the problem is part of the solution aspect. Lastly, Gerstner states that the word “designing” means to pick out determining elements and merge them. He believes the creative process of design should be reduced to an act of selection.  

Josef Müller-Brockmann was a constructivist and a futurist, his main focus was towards the new grid system. He used the grid system as an instrument to create order within his designs. “He took design elements that were subjective, irrational, and chaotic and brought them under tight, measured control”. Müller-Brockmann believes that working with the grid means one has to abide by particular systematic and mathematical laws; in order to achieve professional success. He thinks this should be the way to design going forward. Müller-Brockmann also thinks about the future when he designs, he ponders on how his design is going to help move the world forward, he would  like his work to be a contribution to society, enhancing the world going forward. Moreover, he uses the grid system to take the design industry to the next level. My favorite take from this reading was “every visual creative work is a manifestation of the character of the designer. It is a reflection of his knowledge, his ability, and his mentality”.

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