|dc.description.abstract||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.||en