Gifting design: process


Meet and get to know a mentor that you choose and design a gift for them based on what you have learned through direct communication. Experiment with compositional attributes in volumetric space and form: inside and outside; complimentary relationships between a “packaged” or contained idea and the form/vehicle that contains it. 


I had the pleasure of getting to know an Interior Design student names Sarah Relyea. We communicated through a series of text messages and a zoom call. When getting to know Sarah, I learned that she likes experimental design spaces and she has a passion for interior design. Furthermore, I learned that Sarah also had a background in performing arts and loves musicals and plays. One of Sarah’s favorite musicals is called “Hadestown”. I enjoyed learning about Sarah’s interest and was happy to see that we both share a lot of the same interest in theater and design.


Best Gift:

The best gift that I have ever received would have to be my first guitar. My guitar is acoustic and plays like an angel and a harp. It is all black with a shiny finish and I white circle around the sound hole. This gift is special to me because it was given to me on my 13th birthday by my grandmother who introduced me to music. I get a nostalgic feeling every time I play my guitar because it reminds me of when I first received it and practiced it all the time. This gift is still functioning today, so I think it is the best gift that I have received thus far.



For this exercise we found an item around the design building and found a way to build something that would contain the item inside. For my exercise, I found a green styrofoam block and carved a face in it and called it Shrek. I then got the idea to up-cycle a shoe box and create a mini set of Shrek The Musical. I used fabric to create curtains that open up to create some user experience. My intentions were to exercise the knowledge I already known about my mentor Sarah.


In my iterations I decided to set the theme of my project to Hadestown The Musical and create a mini experimental space as the inside of the packaging. The gift that I decided to create is a red carnation flower that symbolizes a significant prop in Hadestown The Musical. The flower is essentially used as a gift in the musical.


To create the boxing to my gift, I glued two shoe boxes together. The boxes with leave a gap on the side however, they will close up with string.

First, I cut out a stage and stairs made out thin wood with the laser cutter


I then painted the stage to a brown orange tint wood with the laser cutter.


I used a heavy weight poster board to build the set.

I painted the poster board to match the color of the set in Hadestown The Musical.

I reused a synthetic flower stem and reused fabric from a previous project. I cut out the fabric in layers and hot glued them together to form a 3D flower.


Concept statement

“Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”

-Frank Lloyd Wright

When getting to know my mentor Sarah Relyea, I learned that she is an Interior Design student that has an interest in experimental spaces. I also learned that Sarah has a background in Theater and performance arts and one of her favorite musicals is “Hadestown the Musical”. I chose my statement in correlation to the gift I designed for Sarah because I wanted to create a form that could function as a experimental space. So, I created a mini musical set inspired from the musical Hadestown and a carnation flower that functions as a prop from the musical.


What I enjoyed most about this project was getting to know Sarah and her interest. It was cool to see how you can learn about someone and who they are, and gift them something based off of what you’ve learned about them. I enjoyed creating a space that correlated to Sarah and I’s interest. If I were to make any adjustments to this project, I would have found a better way of creating the carnation flower.