Selene is an aerodynamicist designer focusing on leveraging the unseen power of the air. She studied aerospace engineering at UCLA and worked as an automotive aerodynamics engineer in the industry before joining IDE. Fascinated by the power of invisible forces of nature, she drives her designs from a geometry, sustainability, and functionality lens. She is interested in biomimicry, pressing environmental issues such as pollution mitigation as well as the future of work, the roles of designers and engineers, and freedom of speech. Feeling confined within the predetermined boundaries of contemporary engineering, she decided to add a design path to her toolkit which she believes that every creator, whether technical or non-technical should have an understanding of.
I draw my inspiration from my background in engineering and experience as an automotive aerodynamicist in the EV industry, where I developed a deep understanding of the physics of air and its impact on design.
I developed a particular fascination with the movement of air and what the hidden power of flow patterns can reveal. Treating it like a frontier between art, design, and engineering, I try to turn aerodynamics into the language that I utilize for design, both in a literal and conceptual manner. Malcolm Sayer, the inventor of the iconic E-Type Jaguar which he perfected only using streamlining techniques, is one of my biggest sources of inspiration.
I believe that there is something undiscovered about the beauty and philosophy of fluid dynamics that can translate into a combination of function and a niche aesthetic representation. From wind-sculpted chairs to making the invisible visible, I focus on leveraging the unseen and unnoticed and augmenting it to a new mission and function. I am interested in biomimicry, sustainability practices, material exploration, pollution mitigation and geometric explorations, and everything that is concerned with amplifying and visualizing the effects of phenomena that humans are not evolved to detect yet.
I felt restricted by the current definition of engineering in the industry and worried by the fast advance of automation which is why I wanted to become a design engineer. I developed a concept called a DE51GNEƐR which is the fusion of the current roles of designers and engineers resulting in a curator of thoughts and a conductor of an orchestra of sophisticated tools. I believe that this will be the future of these professions and that we all need to understand the fundamentals of both design and engineering to adapt to the unpredictable future of work. I am also interested in developing tools for the future workplace where the current and extremely outdated understanding of productivity and work hours are completely shifted.
I founded Art of Aero, as a representation and archive of all my attempts to unveil and make sense of the parallels between fluid motion and everyday life.
I am also a co-founder at Ghost Labs, a creative design studio, with Seb Tam, Priyanshu Mukhopadhyay, and Orestis Neokleous.
And finally, I created Vox Aeris, the first device of its kind that purifies air using sound and aerodynamics.
We breathe about 22,000 times a day. Yet we rarely know what is in the air we breathe.
Vox Aeris is a novel low-cost technology using textile, sound and aerodynamics for particle capture in the form of a speaker.
Indoor air pollution levels can be up to 5 times higher than outdoor levels. However, pollution control is a very low priority item for the majority of urban citizens due to the invisible and long term complex effects of pollutants leading to temporal discounting. Current solutions also make the subject of air purification unapproachable with their medical device nature and single purpose. The most frequently used types of purifiers are HEPA filters which are completely unrecyclable and costly.
The entire system is designed to be at a fraction of the cost of a conventional purifier, has a dual speaker/ purifier purpose to counter the perceived need barrier and eliminates the need for non-recyclable filters.This brings the subject of air pollution to a more manageable and approachable level. This will hopefully allow more people to acquire a purifier by concealing the pollution aspect under the musical utility while also being low-cost and more accessible.
Air can be a language of design
The seemingly chaotic movement of fluids around us can create unimaginable patterns that offer new and different combinations of particle arrangements every time. Fluids create order and disorder at the same time, much like the world we live in today. I want to discover if and how fluid and particularly air can be used as a sculpting tool for design, both literally and conceptually.
Inspired from motorsports
Most road cars are improved for drag reduction while downforce has priority in racing. The rear wings of F1 cars add to that downforce. The chair you see has 4 inverted wings to produce downforce.
Vortices are very important flow structures. They can be extremely powerful, like in a tornado, but this power can be leveraged using aerodynamic analysis. This can be observed in Formula 1 cars and how they use purposefully generated vortices to increase the effectiveness of the rear wing and push the tyre wake away from the body. Look up the famous Y-250 vortex.
As an aerodynamicist, I wanted to design a chair that would show the unseen power of air and have its surfaces selected using aerodynamic analysis, to produce strong vortices. I started with a baseline design which evolved into many different shapes, using Computational Fluid Dynamics software and iterating the design until I found the one that generates the most powerful and distinct vortices.
The chair you see, called Vorticity, would produce two strong vortices at the 2 edges on the top. While we cannot see how air moves, it's potential and immense power is actually hidden in the curves that make up the surface. When you sit in this chair, imagine the vortices coming off from the sides and how the inverted wings will push you towards the floor, creating a chaotic but stable experience.
Vorticity is a mathematical term used to describe the spinning motion in a fluid, as would be seen by an observer located at that point and traveling along with the flow. The user becomes that particle in the Lagrangian reference frame.