Consider The Kayak
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With ignorant disdain towards the progression of globalization, I adopt the plastic kayak as a microcosm of the cultural ethos in the design of our surroundings. To counter the abundant mass manufactured kayak, I am fabricating a traditional arctic qajaq (Inuit spelling), to fully understand the qajaq and its history. Through the design, construction, and use of the qajaq, I expose the crucial elements that form the watercraft. Combining contemporary tools and materials, I design and fully assemble two more iterations of the qajaq. From wood, to metal, to plastic, I learn the particulars of the design process with the intent of construction in today’s society. The wood skin-on-frame qajaq reveals the limiting factors of design: the influence of economics, tradition and its place in contemporary design, ergonomics, form-focused versus frame-focused construction, and the proper expression of design tectonics. The metal skin-on-frame qajaq is a study in the limitations of material exploitation. I begin to optimize the fabrication process to create a streamlined assembly suited to a globalized marketplace, while maintaining the same spirit of the traditional qajaq. The metal frame is designed to rival the durability, cost, weight, and ease of fabrication of a contemporary plastic kayak with the beauty of a traditional qajaq. The plastic skin-on-frame qajaq is a structural improvement on the metal frame, and is quicker to assemble. This demonstrates how using new tools with an old practice produces quality work. In a culture that relies on mass fabrication, designing and prototyping a qajaq in this iterative manner reveals the importance of design, even if only in contrast to commonplace inventory.
Cite this version of the work
Ryan Pagliaro (2018). Consider The Kayak. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13897