Sterile Shoehorn is a piece that conveys particular feelings. The design practice asks for designers' unique understanding of human langue and expression through design works.

Project Type

Studio Project

Project Length

1 month

Key Words

industrial design
design language

manufacturing study


Market research, Design language, structure innovation, Physical interaction,2D and 3D prototype, CMF, and Manufacturing




To understand the multiple meanings of the word "sterile", I build up the mood board according to official explanations and public recognition by talking with local people and asking questions on the internet.

Word definition


The subject I did was sterile shoehorn. To express my understanding of sterile, I defined it as unemotional, untouchable, and transparent.


Word definition


The subject I did was sterile shoehorn. To express my understanding of sterile, I defined it as unemotional, untouchable, and transparent.




Untouchable means  the perfect moment that people want to cherish, such as the snow mountain.



Sometime sterile means no life. The images of machine makes people feel cold and unemotional.



I use transparent to describe sterile, which presents feelings of light and clean.


Sketch and Ideas


According to the three key words, I came up with different ideas and made tests to see if they work great.






Refraction is a unique phenomenon only for transparent objects, such as water and glass. The design inspired by the phenomenon keeps a perfect and peaceful moment that easy to be ignored, showing users the detail of water layers, reflecting the keywords “unemotional” and "untouchable". 



When it comes to “unemotional,“ images of robots and endless repeating work of assembly line surged to my mind. I chose mechanical arm as a design element to link shoehorn to a feeling of calm and "unemotional".


Concept Iteration


I chose "Refraction” in my direction. And decided to combine one flat piece plus two straight shoehorns into the shape.

I explore structure and manufacturing ways to achieve the "sterile" look. And user testing contributes to a more reasonable shape and portion.

At first, I chose to put the shorter shoehorn downside for sitting. However, after try it, I found a lot of people actually took off the shoehorn with standing status instead of sitting. So the position is not intuitive. As a result, I decided to put the shorter shoehorn upside and the longer one downside.


Design Refinement


Detail Research


I went to several furniture shops to see how sterile products show details, which materials they use, and how they assembly.

Apart from existing designs, I was trying to add features related to my concept. Thus, I found that the layers of water surface and the edges of transparent things are fascinating.So I use glass layers combined to metal layers to present the details.

Rendering Preview

I tried two opposite colors and materials. Finally I chose the Left one because it appeals more to waterlayer.


Sructure Design and Modeling


I took some reference that could be applied the structure of my design. Then I design how the structure looks and made out the prototype.

Functional Prototype

3D Modeling