Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Hourglass Prototype

I used mdf as a mock replacement of mahogany to test my idea and 18mm diameter oak to replace the brass. This allowed me to experiment with the construction and make mistakes before working with the precious materials of mahogany and brass. In the process of testing the construction I was also able to think about the construction of the frame and its shape and concept changed through this.

I was able to reach a solution first time round that I am able to reproduce in my materials of choice.


I bought these two demijohns because I was attracted to the scale and proportion of them as objects. I could imagine my next step involving less manipulation to the objects themselves and more of a focus on the immediate physical context of them and what could be made of them with this approach. I did my research about the demijohns and found that they are used for fermentation of wine and beer. I felt it was interesting that the use of the demijohns as a container of liquid in this time based process should inform my re-appropriation of them. The key to this being a different transformation from the previous ones was that I would not change the physical properties of the demijohns, I wanted to use them in their existing state.

I thought about the idea of time and was inspired by their shape and this brought to my mind the idea of an hourglass. The fact that I had purchased two of them made this a plausible transformation and by inverting one on top of the other I could image them set within a beautifully made mahogany frame with brass detailing that makes reference to the construction and accuracy of naval measuring instruments and sundials. I sketched this preliminary design to show the concept.

Design Copyright © 2010 Youssef Daoud
Sketch Youssef Daoud

The name hourglass I took in combination with the size of the demijohns to inform the 1 hour time which I hope to achieve by variation of the hole size and aggregate used (salt or sand). Traditionally these hourglasses would measure a maximum of about 15 minutes but my choice of 1 hour meant that I needed to reconsider how this giant hourglass will be inverted and the users' interaction with it. I felt that instead of setting them in a frame where the whole frame needed to be turned on its head to restart the timing (considering its mass) it would be interesting to come up with a solution where the frame stands still and the hourglass pivots around its central point which is what I attempted to express above and what I decided to prototype.

Pallet meets Can (PMC)

These tables we a very useful in the context of my other pieces and their placement in my overall body of works. Some critisism of these pieces is that the raw materials were so extremely transformed that their original existence is forgotten. Arguably, this was the product of my intention to take basic mundane materials and transform them to the realm of the valuable and precious. In this case it envolved much more processing than I orginally intended. Here are the finished photographs

Design Copyright © 2010 Youssef Daoud
Photograph Youssef Daoud