A Thousand Faces

Industrial Design · Manufacturing Process Study · Space Design
Harvard 2016    |    Collaboration with Ngoc Doan, Chao Gu


A Thousand Faces is a ceramic project that experiments on intersection between space, lighting effects and material property. 


The junction between spaces is a place where they start a conversation. The intersection between different functions and characteristics creates a juxtaposition where a dialogue emerges in harmony or in conflict. This space divider, A Thousand Faces, is the visualization of that conversation.


From multiple stages of prototyping, we found the limitation of shapes, wall thickness, draft angles and mold opening dimension for slip casting, as well as the possible Truchet tiling options and aggregation methods.


The Design

We focused on three main aspect: Aggregation, Visual Permeability, Perception. We Aimed for designing mass-producible objects, that are modularized and can be combined in multiple different ways.



In this modularized system, we designed 4 different units for composing the entire separation wall. These units consists 2 bigger ones and 2 smaller ones. The 2 units from each dimension groups are mirrored from each other. 


Dimensions are decided under the consideration of shrinkage from drying (5%) and con 6 firing (12%). The middle opening for all models for stacking purpose.

Old presentation-19.jpg

Visual Permeability

We achieve different permeability by alternating the rotated angle of each column. 



In the larger scale, Moire Effect is what we played heavily on this project. When the viewer's perspective (distance and angle) towards this wall changes, different patterns will emerge.


In the finer detail, Truchet Pattern is what we designed. No matter the direction of the unit tile, the ribs of the tile will always link with one another, and consist into different patterns.


Lighting effect