Written by Liang-Jung Chen

Turn everyday objects into kinetic sculptures, with some help from designer Liang-Jung Chen

This week, helping to keep our creative juices running is Liang-Jung Chen, founder of research-based design project, The Misused. Focused on inspiring people to reimagine uses for hardware products in creative ways, it’s bound to get you looking at your hardware in a whole new way. Here, Liang shares some DIY kinetic sculpture exercises, inspired by iconic American sculptor Alexander Calder. So what are you waiting for? Grab some materials, and read on as Liang teaches us how to create your very own Calder using everyday objects found around the house.

Getting Creative with Materials at Home

Like many freelancers, a significant portion of my commissioned work has been postponed or cancelled – meaning a lack of product development projects, and no design workshops to facilitate. But this time at home, I hope, will allow us some time to pay closer attention to the details around us. Instead of purchasing a new item, now is the perfect time to think about how we can utilise existing materials, and transform them into something of value.

I was introduced to Alexander Calder’s work at a very young age. Ever since, I’ve had an itch to create my own mobile that I can hang up at home. Now that we’re in lockdown, I’ve taken this time of stillness to create a series of kinetic mobiles from a range of day-to-day materials, like bottle caps, paper pins and much more.

Based on the principle of equilibrium, the sculptures can be constructed with almost anything. This exercise will hopefully elevate items which you might otherwise ignore or discard. Each example will be exploring the endless connection between weight, movement, and gravity in the form of a three dimensional composition. Have a try at home, and see what comes of it!

Tools needed:
Pliers, Tin Snips, Scissors, Scalpel, Awl, Drill

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Example One

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Example Two

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Example Three

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Example Four

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Example Five

Looking for more inspiration?

Introduction by Siham Ali
Written by Liang-Jung Chen
Mention Alexander Calder