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Zhu Feng 

"Vermilion Peaks"

A desk fan concept inspired by Chinese traditional landscape paintings and symbolism.

Vermilion (
- Zhu) is a vibrant red that symbolizes luck
and vitality in our culture. 

Peaks (峰 - Feng) are the tops of majestic mountains. 


Pick an object from both the RISD Nature Lab and RISD Museum and choose one architectural-scale object to use as inspiration for 3 variations of a redesigned household item. I chose to redesign a desk fan into something bold yet meaningful.

Here, I'm only presenting the redesign inspired by a piece of art in the RISD Museum because it has a deeper importance to me. I made this piece for my dad.





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The piece I chose from the RISD Museum collection; a late Ming Dynasty landscape.

A look back:



My dad has always been an avid collector of Chinese antiques and art. I grew up surrounded by walls hung with intricate paintings. Of course, I was too young to appreciate their beauty so I sometimes drew in my own people and airplanes on my dad's prized possessions. It was only later he told me about their significance and who all those people were that visited our home over the years.

In the top left photo, I watch two curators, Dr. Joseph Chang from the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian and Mr. Michael Kern from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, inspect a painting. In the bottom left photo, Mr. Shang Guoqiang, curator of the Beijing Palace Museum watches with us as Professor Xue Yongnian from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts performs calligraphy in our dining room.

When I see these photos, I'm reminded about how lucky I am to have grown up surrounded by my culture. When I make art, I realize the significant influence my dad's passion has had on me. 



Sketches & Making


A mini study of a Chinese landscape painting and form sketches.



I cut a 1/4th inch wood board into sections of decreasing sizes. Using pencil, I roughly marked out the fluid shapes of the mountain cross sections on each section and cut it out using a bandsaw.

I took the middle sections and cut slots through them for the air to flow out. Finally, I glued all the sections together.



The back piece was cut from an inch thick block of wood for 
stability and weight. It was glued on with the rest of the sections after spray painting was completed.


Since this project was an extensive form study and a translation of inspired objects, we weren't allowed to consider mechanics and function. Even so, my design would have a small ducted fan housed inside the base that blows air up the center and out of the slots in front. 


Finished Product


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"Vermilion Peaks"


My dad's display in his study room.

This was an assignment from my Sophomore year fall semester Industrial Design Design Principles 2 class taught by Prof. Nicolas Der.