This project is currently in progress

This project focuses on showcasing the inherent value of animals, beyond their physical aesthetic qualities. The animals were chosen for their absence of color and vary in degrees of domestication. By showcasing animal's fitness, the animal spaces attempt to combat exploitation of animals as contrived fashion statements or status symbols.

Designing for Respect: Three Animal Habitats

Human beings project their arbitrary aesthetics onto fellow animals. The outcome is a world where dogs are unable to walk with their amusing hot-dog silhouettes, and fish have been genetically modified to glow rainbow colors. This is a dismissal of the intrinsic fitness of an animal and denial of the reason behind their existence.

"Animals have intrinsic value, irrespective of their importance to humans"

The Redcap Oranda Goldfish has a history of domestication of 1000+ years; these fish are incapacitated creatures: a result of aesthetically driven manipulation. They require tentative care and are often blinded by the growths on their heads that they’re bred for.

The Ball Python is primarily captively bred in the pet trade, however they mostly reside abundantly in sub-saharan Africa. It is a common beginner’s pet. Typically, they can kill but cannot catch their prey. 

The Orchid Mantis is the least domesticated creature of this collection. Native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia, these animals are aggressive pinnacles of fitness: they are very successful predators due to their uncanny resemblance to flowers.

 

ORCHID MANTIS ENCLOSURE

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About the Animal

Native to rain-forests of Southeast Asia, orchid mantises are the pinnacle of fitness. Their vibrant coloring and structure display an evolved predatory trait: aggressive mimicry. Studies have shown that orchid mantises do not require the presence of other flowers to catch prey. Instead, they function independently as their own generalized flower. 

Approach

This amorphous, branch-like design showcases the fitness of the orchid mantis through an enclosure devoid of flowers. The form of the wooden core emulates the physical characteristics of a branch, encouraging the viewer to yield to the illusion of the insect’s appearance.

Interaction

Owner periodically puts egg sac of flies or insects in bottom of the enclosure, offering Orchid Mantis optimal independence in catching its own prey. 

Form Considerations

To highlight the independence of the orchid mantis, the branch-like form of the enclosure pushes the viewer to subconsciously expect flowers where he/she sees the mantis. 

Working form study of mantis enclosure, not to scale (glass & wood)

 

BALL PYTHON ENCLOSURE

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About the Animal

Often found in Subsaharan Africa, these pythons spend most of their time on or under the ground in burrows. Ball pythons move through gliding and sweeping motion, and often ball up when they are threatened or resting. 

Approach

This snake enclosure is designed to re-introduce the fear/respect snakes command. By giving the snake the choice of when it's seen, the multi-layer enclosure creates a realistic dynamic between human and snake. The variable curvatures of the enclosure accommodate the natural tendencies of the snake by maximizing the surface area on which the creature can traverse, and hide. 

Interaction

Owner feeds snake by placing mice in feeding container, the snake then takes the mouse and eats it, bringing it back throughout the enclosure, mimicking digestion

Form Considerations

Create a flow through the movements of the snake to allow viewer to focus on the way the animal moves and thermo-regulates, as opposed to the static, aesthetic factors of the animal’s appearance. 

 

ORANDA GOLDFISH ENCLOSURE

About the Animal

With over a 1,000 years history of domestication, Redcaps are a highly transformed version of wild carp, which inhabit slow-moving or stagnant waters and feed on plants, insects, and small crustaceans. The growth on their heads, known as the “wen,” develops as the fish are born. 

Approach

This fish tank balances an organic interaction between owner and pet, while accounting for the long history of the specie’s regressing fitness through domestication. This tank concept reorients human-fish interactions to a more natural state by allowing the owner to view the fish from a top-down view, as opposed to a disconnected profile view from a conventional tank. The tank includes a glass worm farm which the owner cultivates and uses to feed his/her pet. 

This interaction reminds us of our effect on fish as a species, but also admire the inherent beauty of aquatic creatures in a more honest context. 

Interaction

Owner must actively take feed out of the enclosure’s farm to periodically feed the fish as well as take care of the animals that live in the farm (brine shrimp, worms, algae, etc)

Form Considerations

Think about geometries that nest seamlessly together, but also removable. The form should allow for the animals to choose when they are and aren’t seen.