Balance : Sam Fuller

The project I ended up completing for Herbarium was way beyond anything I could have imagined myself developing before taking on the Herbarium Studio.
The guidence I was given along the way was truly ground breaking because it was able to direct my creation on different paths and develop in different ways. I think that giving the students such flexibility for what they must complete for the end of semester project was a great approach because it truly gave us a chance to explore a huge range of ideas and find what really gets our clocks ticking.
Balance was the name of my project and it was built on a single idea, “a counterweighted hanging plant, the counterwieght being the plants water supply.” From there I went crazy trying to find ways of getting the water from one place to the other. In the end I just settled for a small water pump.
Balance showcases the the biosphere working its magic.  The hydrosphere is looking after the plants hydration, the lithosphere is cradling the plant and is giving the plant nutrients, the atmosphere encompasses the plant and the ecosphere is the plant.
I wanted to further emphasise the word balance though. After all, the counterweight takes a long time to empty so the piece doesn’t have much theatre. I decided to take inspiration from a Japanese water feature called a Shishi Odoshi. They are usually placed under mini water springs and fill up. As soon as the water becomes too heavy at one end then it falls and disposes of the water. As a result of emptying its water, it makes a soft clonking noise which scares off any nearby deer. So I adapted this idea so that the shishi odoshi’s filled from the inside so the filling process wasn’t messy and the water was first seen coming out the shishi odoshi. Drainage was a problem at the beginning because I wasn’t sure how I should configure the layout of balance. I could have made the plant and water hang side by side but it made more sense to have the plant above the water so that the water in the plant pot could drain directly back into the water reservoir.
The components that make up balance are mostly recycled. The bowls were found at a scrap yard and needed a lot of polishing. The timber was found in a scrap bin at a builders timber supplier. The copper shishi odoshi’s are usually found on the Phasmida and simple series lights design by Christopher Boots. The ones that I used were taken from the scrap bin because they were dented. The cabling was also taken from Christopher Boots because they were left over ground cables which aren’t used on one of Chris’ 12 volt fixtures.
Overall, I am incredibly pleased with the result and it performs exactly how I hoped it would. It is only a proof of concept so I will definitely develop this concept further at a later date.
Designed and Built by Sam Fuller, RMIT, Industrial Design, 2nd year, 2015