Author Archives: Henriette

About Henriette

I´m Henriette. I am in my 4th semester of my product design studies at the Bauhaus University, Germany. I am also a blacksmith. This semester is special though, because design and technology are coming together. As an interdisciplinary team we will create an interactive costume for the stage! To actually make this happen many of our divers skills are needed and that makes me quite excited about this project.

Final Exhibition – Summaery – Open Lab Night

Dear All,

we present to you: our final exhibition!

The designers always come up with these crazy ideas that are a lot of effort. I guess in the end it was worth it. We presented the project – costumes, mock- ups, prototypes, pictures and movie in the entrance hall of Bauhausstraße 11. We tried to make it an overall experience so that the visitor understands the project´s goal. The visitor had to pass shelves filled with prototypes and inspirational material. The video that was shot during the design acting weekend gave a perfect introduction to our project´s idea and storyline.

We created a small dark nook to present the costumes with their interactive properties. The visitor really had to enter a “different” world – the Nautilus perhaps?

See here some impressions of set up and opening of our successful exhibition!



Design Acting – Final Workshop – Diver Costume´s First Time in Action

Our final Design Acting Workshop took place one week before the final grand university exhibition called Summaery!

It´s been an exhausting time, since the workshop meant to have the costumes ready to be worn by actual real actors. We only had two days to plan, try out and actually develop and shoot a short performance with all three costumes in action. Friday we spent the day planning the performance/ scene. It meant getting an overview on each character, their presumed “personality traits” and technical features that will enhance those characteristics.


Next step was, to develop a short scene where all characters/ costumes would interact with one another — Where all technical and character traits would also become clear.

Scene we came up with:

Captain Nemo and his right- hand Crew Member exit the Nautilus for an exploratory mission to the bottom of the sea. While exploring they get too close to the dwelling space of the octopus. They bother him a little too much, so the octopus gets excited and finally angry when the Crew Member tries to attack it. The octopus is stronger and tries to drag the Crew Member aka Diver into his dwelling place. Finally Captain Nemo comes back to rescue his comrade.

We planned to film the entire day with the goal to observe the actors, how the costumes are fit for their character, etc. To get some facts, we developed a catalogue of questions in form of an interview. We have some film footage of interviewing the single actors. Plan is to evaluate and judge our work with the collected information.

IMG_0857 kopieren

We all were really stressed out and nervous on that important day when the actors came in. Really we thought it would be disastrous since none of our costumes was working quite right. We had a lot of technical problems to deal with. In the end though, it worked out fine! The actors fit into the costumes perfectly. Not just size wise, but also character wise. It was so good to see them “using” the costumes in that way.

Here are some impressions:



Diver´s helmet – Nautilus shape

The helmet is worth it´s own post!

Here you can see the first mock- ups we built. It´s been a long process and it´s far from being developed enough!

From our first idea of a Nautilus shaped helmet that you can fold and unfold into the realy implementation we had to build a paper model, then a cardboard one, then a plastic one and finally the real prototype from clear plastic and metal sheet. It´s been such a tedious process because each section of the helmet has a slightly different length, that doesn´t change consitently. That means there was quite a few try and error going on. There is probably a method of how to solve this mathematically, but I am such a hands on person… so I didn´t try to hard to do the math.

side view finished vest and helmet (protective coat still on); basic wire frame structure for O² pack, that holds up helmet
side view finished vest and helmet (protective coat still on); basic wire frame structure for O² pack, that holds up helmet

I attached two bend metal parts – the first and the last – to give the helmet enough rigidity to hold it´s shape on it´s own. It´s put together only with two M5 bolts and nuts, plus counter nuts and washers. Not quite the prettiest solution yet. One side though will be hidden in the end, since we are planning to attach an oxygen hose to it.

The helmet looks great! It´s really big, but that also means the actor´s head can move freely. The only problem really is that it is quite fragile. It likes to pop open if the actor isn´t careful with it. Since the single parts of the helmet just lock into to next bigger one by being trapped – the sometimes slip apart. Wich is not so great during a play. What it actually means is that I´d like to built the helmet again. Much more acurate and precise with a locking system. I´ll post my solution ideas soon.


The Implications of Improvisational Acting and Role- Playing on Design Methodologies


Medler, B. Magerko, B. (2010). The Implications of Improvisational Acting and Role- Playing on Design Methodologies. CHI 2010: Dance, Dust, and Drama: Designing Design, p. 483-492


Ben Medler, Brian Magerko;

Georgia Institute of Technology, 686 Cherty St, Atlanta, GA 30332


Improvisation, Role-playing, Design Methodologies, Performance, Theatre
Summary: The authors of this paper are making an effort to define and differentiate Improvisational Theater and Role- Playing as design tools and methods that support certain goal achievement such as:building self- confindence, creating new ideas, increasing group focus, informing of user´s needs, evaluating products and design ideas.

Main Contents: 

Here you can write a little bit more about the core information of the paper. E.g. definition or description of specific terms, or list design guidelines & explain them shortly, or a give more detailed information about the technologies used, or decribe which evaluation methods have been applied … You can add pictures with references. But don’t write to much, not everything is important for us. Keep in mind to just give the essence here in 250 to 300 words.

Performance techniques to enhance the design process – Definitions

– in jazz, theatre, organizational science, management, etc.
– unscripted performance
– flexible, original, error prone
– happens in real time
– major factors: group coherence, novelty, speed of execution and lack of planning
– not completely prescribed in terms of functional and/or content constraints

–> to break out of normal or common ways of thinking
–> a form of brainstorming
–> to create novel, interesting experience for an audience
–> to create mental models: cognitive consensus (Improvisers will predict, or infer, where other improvisers are heading in the story)
–> discovering what is hidden within a scene
–> building character/ relationships during performance
–> work collectively; as a cohesive group

=> is best acted out by trained improvisers; it requires little constrains and will help designers to obtain innovative, novel ideas. The outcome is not predictable which helps on getting new ideas that were not thought of before.

Role- Playing:
– for entertainment, training, psychological treatment
– interaction of players in virtual spaces/ imaginary world
– to become another person/ take on a character role in a constructed scene
– allows for the “infinite manipulation of time and space”
– not for an audience
– lead by Game Master/ leader – as director and facilitator (rules are followed and to move the story along)

–> view from another person´s perspective
–> creates realism, simulates a ‘real life’ episode or experience – under controlled conditions
–> leader: maintain group focus, influences direction and outcome

=> used best by designers and testers to focus on specific areas in the further developed design process. It will obtain more practical, efficient designs and insights – not so much innovation, because of the tight constrains.

A combination of these two techniques is the ‘Wizard of Oz’ method:
This technique allows designers to have control over user testing while still giving participants the freedom to improvise their actions:
– participants don´t know that someone is guiding their experience
– users are set in low-fidelity, mixed-reality environment with freedom to perform “daily routines
– designers trigger different events or constrain the user in different ways in real-time .


Ideas for costume evaluation:

Improvisation and Role- Playing are methods suitable for this project. Unfortunatley at the first design acting workshop we participated, our ideas/ storytelling were not developed enough to work with. Improvisation would have been a good design tool to create story and costume ideas. Although trained actors are necessary to achieve useable results.
Bodystorming, is also mentioned in the paper – we tried that with good results: Group coherence towards our costume ideas were achieved.


Sewing lessons – diver´s vest

dear all! we´ve been starting to sew! Completely new territory for me. But with Wiebke´s help it´ll become a decent prototype of a costume – hopefully.

We started out with a basic vest. It overlaps and closes on the side. The collar is really tall and will be the junction of suit and helmet. It´s made from textile that we had laying around. Our final version will be made from the black rubbery textile.


basic diver´s vest
basic diver´s vest

The backpack/oxygen tank straps will be attached on the inside of the vest, so that the straps won´t be visible.

size/ dimension test
size/ dimension test

We added gill like folds to the vest to give it a futuristic/ organic look.


On the inside of the folds we attached some plastic sheet. It makes the vest much more rigid and adds interesting texture.


The plastic sheet distributes the light from the el wire very nicely as you can see here. All the folds on each side will be lit with blue and white el wire.


This might be a solution of how to attach the el wire inside the folds. Shrink tube or small rubber bands might be another solution.


Finally we´ve jused the real material for the first real diver vest prototype! The fabric we bought is usually made for upholstery puposes. We turned it inside out for the right “fish leather” effect, since the now ouside is covered with this rubbery, almost sticky surface texture. Our sewing machines hate that fabric though! It doesn´t transport very well and is quite thick. It´s impossible to iron into shape as well. More difficulties that we had to deal with.

Also: We love stand-up collars, if you haven´t noticed.

After the gills were added, Susann and Marco came into the textile workshop to add the electroluminescent wire to the vest!

Technical Details on how the EL wire is connected to battery pack, Arduino, buttons, see post here.

Bubble Machine for the Diving Suit

We are planning to incoporate a bubble making machine into the oxygen tank in the back that is suppose to release soap bubbles from time to time. The bubbles are suppose to simulate CO2 and other waste gases that are being realeased.

One funny example that I just found – way after we had this idea! – is this:

Lady Gaga bubble dress

For implementing our idea we already got a functioning bubble machine. Next goal is to get it running via Arduino. We experimented quite a bit with it. Once it´s running we´ll show you how we got it to work!

Material Research

We reached that point in the semester project where we need to find out how to reach our set goals in costume making. What are the best materials to use – what are the best model building techniques and methods – what is doable with the small budget we have?

To get ahead I went to our synthetic material workshop/ model building workshop in the design faculty. I looked at all these material samples we have there, talked to the workshop staff who are as usual a great help to figure out how to implement your idea.

Acrylic sheets for the helmet would be great! Dark in the back, clear sheets in the front. Unfotunately that stuff is expensive! It is a thermoplast though which means you can shape it when heated. It´s really easy to get folds into the material. Organic forms is a different topic. That is much harder since the material doesn´t strech or compress so easily.  Alternative material might be a lower grade clear plastic from the hardware store.

That rubber I described in the pictures would be great. It is still see through transparent, but has this organic colour. It also has the right kind of elasticity to rigidity. I´d love to use that material for the fron side of the oxygen tanks. Problematic is the amount of work and material I would have to put into the mould buliding. You can only pour that rubbery stuff, since it comes luiquid which means I would have to first built an inside and ouside mould for it. Alternative idea that I still have to develop would be to pour large flat sheets from that material and glue or weld or sew it into the right shape.

I will keep you posted on how the model building is going!


material tests possibly for the tank


Diving Suit Design Approach

While making drawing these various designs of the Crew Member´s diving suit I tried to visualise certain parts:

_ very technical suit versus much more organic looks

_ to incorporate the glowing ‘energy lines’ into the suit

_ gadgets such at the oxygen tank, foldable nautilus shaped helmet and weapon


The final costume design is not yet determined, but after talking to team WISEHA we were able to decide on certain features that Captain Nemo and his crew have in common. The clothes must be made from the same kind of fabric and texture. Also the basic suit is going to look the same – meaning a onsie! The characters will differ from one another through all the additional attachments on the garment.

Due to these decisions the final design is shaping and I will post news on that soon!

The Story by Jules Verne: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (French: Vingt mille lieues sous les mers) is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870. It tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus, as seen from the perspective of Professor Pierre Aronnax after he, his servant Conseil, and Canadian harpoonist Ned Land wash up on their ship. On the Nautilus, the three embark on a journey which has them going all around the world. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

We, the team HEMASU chose to pick out the Nautilus´CREW. The interacitve costume we will create this semester is suppose to be worn by one of Nemo´s comrades. We specifically aim to built a suit that is also suitable for diving in the deep sea.

To get a clear vision of the crew I picked out some quotes from the original text by Jules Verne. I´m sorry that they are all in german. – I wrote an english summary at the end.

Die Mannschaft

S.64 – Kleidung, Sprache, Nationalität

Die beiden Unbekannten, mit Mützen von Seeotterfell und in Seestiefeln von Robbenfell, trugen Kleider von einem besonderen Gewebe, die große Freiheit der Bewegungen gestatteten. Der größere von beiden, offenbar der Anführer der Leute an Bord, prüfte uns mit größter Achtsamkeit, ohne ein Wort zu reden. Darauf besprach er sich mit seinem Gefährten in einer Sprache, die mir nicht bekannt war. Es war ein volltönender, harmonischer, biegsamer Dialekt mit sehr verschiedenartiger Betonung.

S.67 – Nationalität, Urteil zum „Typ“ Mensch

Seien Sie so freundlich zu warten, um mir ein Urteil über den Kommandanten und die Mannschaft dieses Fahrzeugs zu bilden.« »Ich bin mit meinem Urteil fertig«, versetzte Ned Land. »Es sind Schurken …« »Gut! Und aus welchem Land?« »Aus dem Schurkenland!« »Wackerer Ned, dieses Land ist auf den Karten noch nicht ge­nügend bestimmt, und ich gestehe, daß die Nationalität der bei­den Unbekannten schwer zu ermitteln ist! Weder Engländer noch Franzosen, noch Deutsche, das ist alles, was man bis jetzt sagen kann. Doch möchte ich annehmen, daß die beiden einer südlichen Breite angehören, sie haben etwas Südliches in ihrem Wesen. Aber ob Spanier, Türken, Araber oder Inder, läßt sich aus ihrem physi­schen Typus noch nicht ermessen. Ihre Sprache ist völlig unver­ständlich.«

S.68 – „Typ“Mensch, Bildung

Unterdessen hatte der Steward – stumm, vielleicht auch taub – den Tisch gedeckt und drei Gedecke aufge­setzt. Ge­wiß hatten wir’s mit Leuten von Bildung zu tun, und hätte uns nicht das elektrische Licht umstrahlt, so hätte ich geglaubt, im Speisesaal des Hotels Adelphi zu Liverpool oder des Grand-Hotels zu Paris zu sein.

S.87 – Essen

Auf Nahrungsmittel von der Erde habe ich lange verzichtet, und befinde mich darum nicht übler. Meine kräf­tige Mannschaft genießt dieselbe Nahrung wie ich.«

S.120 – Anzahl, Roboter?

Ich habe nicht einmal die Mannschaft des Boots gesehen. Sollte sie vielleicht auch elektrisch sein?« »Sie können mir nicht sagen, wieviel Mann an Bord sind? 10? 20? 50? 100?« »Ich kann darauf keine Antwort geben, Meister Land.

S.140 – Körpergröße

Kapitän Nemo, einer seiner Gefährten – eine herkulische Ge­stalt von außerordentlicher Körperkraft – Conseil und ich zogen rasch die Kleidung an.

S.205 – Kommunikation

Und er drückte auf einen elektrischen Knopf, wodurch er an seine Mannschaft den Befehl gelangen ließ.

S.207 – Fleiß, Arbeit

So verging die Nacht, ohne daß die Mannschaft von ihrer gewöhnlichen Untätigkeit ab­ließ. Sie kümmerte sich um die Anwesenheit dieser Kannibalen so wenig, als die Soldaten eines festen Platzes um die Ameisen, die über seine Bollwerke laufen.


Ich vermutete, die Mannschaft sei mit inneren Reparaturen beschäftigt, die durch die Heftigkeit der mechanischen Bewegungen der Maschine notwendig gewor­den


Ein Teil der Mannschaft mit Skaphandern gepanzert, war beschäf­tigt, halb verfaulte Fässer abzuräumen und Kisten zu leeren in­mitten des schwarzen Strandgutes.

S.364 – Anzahl

»Wieviel Mann glauben Sie, daß sich an Bord der ›Nautilus‹ be­finden?« »Ich wüßte es nicht zu sagen, mein Freund.« »Es scheint mir«, versetzte Ned Land, »sein Manövrieren erfor­dert keine große Mannschaft.«

S.448 – Beziehung

Kapitän Nemo, in Blut gebadet, unbeweglich neben dem Fa­nal, sah ins Meer hinaus, das einen seiner Gefährten verschlungen hatte, und dicke Tränen quollen aus seinen Augen. Ich hatte also einen Heimatgenossen unter der Kapitän Nemo mit Leib und Seele verbundenen Mannschaft! War er der einzige Repräsentant Frankreichs in der aus verschiedenen Nationalitäten gemischten Gesellschaft? Ein ungelöstes Rätsel, das mich unabläs­sig quälte. –> Nemo liebt seine Mannschaft. Wie Familienmitglied?


S. 128

Ich zog alsbald meine Byssuskleider an. Über die Beschaffen­heit dieses Stoffs machte Conseil öfters seine Bemerkungen. Ich belehrte ihn nun, daß er aus den glänzenden seidenartigen Fasern gemacht sei, womit eine Art an den Ufern des Mittelmeers sehr häufiger Muscheln an die Felsen geheftet ist. Früher bereitete man daraus schöne Zeuge, Strümpfe, Handschuhe, denn sie waren zu­gleich kernhaft und sehr warm. Die Mannschaft der ›Nautilus‹ ließ sich darin billig kleiden, und man konnte die Baumwolle, Schafe und Seidenwürmer der Oberwelt entbehren.


Ich ging wieder in mein Zimmer und kleidete mich rasch an: Seestiefel, Ottermütze, Reiserock von Byssus mit Robbenfell gefüt­tert.

Was ist Byssus?

Der Taucheranzug

S.139 f
_ schwer, undurchdringlichen, aus Kautschuk gefertigt
_ halten Druck aus
_ eine Rüstung, geschmeidig und widerstandsfähig zugleich
_ Hosen und Weste, durch Kupferplättchen geschützt, die der Brust zum Panzer dienten, um den Druck des Wassers auszuhalten und den Lungen ihre freie Tätigkeit zu sichern
_ dichten Fußbekleidung, mit schweren Bleisohlen besetzt
_ geschmeidigen Handschuhen, welche die Handbewegung nicht hinderten
_ Kleidung endigt oben in ein kupfernes, schraubenartig ausgebohrtes Halsband, worauf der metallene Helm eingeschraubt wird. Drei mit dicken Gläsern versehene Löcher gestatteten nach allen Richtungen zu sehen.
_ auf Rücken befestigten Apparate Rouquayrol fangen ihre Tätigkeit an, für das Atmen
_ Ruhmkorffsche Lampe am Gürtel


Summary – Crew

There are almost no specific, defined descriptions of Nemo´s crew. But it is possible to read a lot of information in the view mentioned parts. The crew must consist of a minimum of 12 members, all men, all from several different countries. They seem to all have a “southern” touch, but it is not clear from exactly where since the language they use to communicate with one another is unknown to scientist Aronnax. They execute any task that needs to be done on the Nautilus: Repair work, cloth making, cooking, hunting, collecting items from the sea, etc.
 Nemo wears the cloth made of the same type of material that the crew wears. Also do they all eat the same food they derive from the sea. It must be healthy protein rich food since Nemo describes his crew to be strong. Especially one of his comrades looks like Herkules and is equally strong.

Sure is that the crew respect Captain Nemo completely. They come when called, they execute any task given to them. Maybe they even love Nemo. He certainly is bound to them with his heart and soul. When one of his comrades dies in an attac, Nemo starts crying in blank despair.

as for their clothing:

It´s made by elements from the sea. Caps made from sea otter, boots made for water from sealskin, and clothes made from fabric that allows good movements. This fabric he is talking about is called Byssus, made from mussels. It´s similar to silk. The crew makes clothes such as gloves or a coat insulated with sealfur with this type of textile.

Certainly we have to take into consideration that all the clothes are made from textiles/ materials found in the sea. But nonetheless we decided to have the play take place in a distant future, even in fictional world. So we do not have to take Jules Verne´s descriptions literally.


First Sea Creature Mock Ups/ Experiments

P1040837 P1040839This item is a first experiment on a shell inspired form. We built a metal structure and covered it with a stretch textile. This results in a beautiful dynamic surface. The best part about it is that the fabric is semi-transparent which means you can see through it and even light it from within.

 Experiments P1040842P1040845Wiebke made this amazing fish scale top. The base material is stretchy, so it´ll fit super snug. The scales, made from a variety of different textiles are attached on the back. They are only attached on the top end which allows them to move. Tucking up the shirt a bit makes the scales layer up and create volume. The scales have a beautiful effect once lit from underneath.