Introduction: Far East Fusion - Fortune Cookie Series / Objet 3D Printing (2016)

About: Twitter: @W_W_F / @WE_DESIGNS_LLC | IG: @WendyWFok

Far East Fusion: Fortune Cookies –

The American Dream Fortune Cookies series conceptually and metaphorically explores the objectification of Asian Americans in the Bay area. While also looking into the larger power dynamics often observed in orientalism, or the misrepresented concept of the “other”, of Asians in Western Culture. Meanwhile, the tongue and cheek design of the packaging and the design development is to also further explore the Disneyland effect of Chinatowns within the United States, and the popularized nature of the fortune cookie that has consistently been misrepresented as an Asian import.

As an immigrant and citizen of the world, this semi-autobiographical project dives into the auspicious context of San Francisco and California as the homeland of the fortune cookie. The project acts as a commentary on the dualistic qualities of the Americanized immigrant experience and the popularized Asian American treat. The digital fabrication and the making of the series is made possible at the Autodesk Pier 9, the Embarcadero, located in the Bay of San Francisco. The exact origin of fortune cookies is unclear, though various immigrant groups (mostly considered Japanese) in California claim to have popularized them in the early 20th century.


“Orientalism” is a 1978 book by Edward W. Said, in which he provides a critical study of the cultural representations that are the bases of Orientalism, the West's patronizing perceptions and fictional depictions of "The East" — the societies and peoples who inhabit the places of Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.


According to the 2010 United States Census, San Francisco is ranked as the number one of large cities location in the United States with the highest concentration of Chinese Americans (population - 172,181). The Chinese population of San Francisco represents the single largest ethnic minority group with 21.4% of the entire San Francisco population. Other major Asian groups include: Filipinos (4.5%), Vietnamese (1.6%), Japanese (1.3%), Asian Indians (1.2%), Koreans (1.2%), Thais (0.3%), Burmese (0.2%) and Cambodians (0.2%).

Source -

"There definitely is a connection Asian people have to education and raising your children well - just as all Americans strive for," Lee said. "And we are making great contributions to society and our communities. Just look at (San Francisco Mayor) Ed Lee and (Oakland Mayor) Jean Quan." Source – SF Gate, March 22, 2012,


Technologically, the project is made possible through modelling the fortune cookie in a 3D CAD software, and 3D printed through a clear material Objet printer at the Autodesk Pier 9 lab. The project is to be further iterated through various forms of digital fabrication, including CNC milling and Waterjetting in various materials.

Further Reading / Research Source:

Huffington Post –

History of Chinese Americans in SF –

Bay Area Census –

US Census –

Chinese American San Francisco Chinatown History –

Designed by Wendy W Fok
Consulted with Lillian He / Jung Ahn
Copyright 2016 | WE-DESIGNS, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Step 1: Research / Onsite Cultural Context

Cultural context and research is a large part of the development of any project, and this claims true with the Fortune Cookies Series. A walking tour of the San Francisco Chinatown and a visit to the local Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. The windowless atmosphere of the cookie sweatshop brought to light the working conditions and the man vs machine, low and high technological aspects of the making of the cookie itself, but also the cultural relevance of the context, contained within the content of the cookies, which were all made locally in San Francisco.

Step 2: Objet Multi-Material 3D Printing

The opportunity to use the 3D printing machine, and also the multi-material printing of the Objet allowed the detailed resin based black font effect of the "Asian" and "American" 3D printed within the multi-material quality of the cookies.

Numerous iterations were made before the final batch was done, and the idiosyncrasies were also tested between the various machines and settings. The testing were also made through the Fortus 450mc machines on materials, such as Ultem and ASA. Various software and geometric explorations were also made, through using Autodesk Meshmixer, and modelled through Rhinoceros 3D. These explorations also looked into the technologies behind 3D CAD modelling, and also the variable thicknesses that were required for the hollowed out prints.

Step 3: Boxing and Package Design With the Laser Cutter

The entire package design and boxing design of the series was based on the five top populations of the Asian American population within the San Francisco and California Bay Area. The boxes were all laser cut and a hefty etching experiment with iterative burn testing were made to ensure the variability of the effects of the etch. The beauty of using the laser cutter is the effectiveness within creating high and low resolution imagery onto the sacrificial wood frames, before the final etches were made onto the pre-made boxes themselves.

Step 4: Final Presentation

Each 3D printed cookie was also boxed in a gem-like arrangement to showcase the objectified relevance of the cookie itself, metaphorically speaking to the orientalism and objectification of Asian American culture within the Bay area.

The relevance between the cover and the contents, within each little box of Asian American Dreams were carefully curated to ensure that the percentage of the individual Asian American populations were etched within the box itself. If placed playfully, the words "Asian" and "American" could be looked as interchangeable (Asian American vs American Asian).

Prose – Far East Fusion

“I once thought love was supposed to come in a neat package. A wooden box. A

fortune cookie. You crack it open and out comes the answers for all the

unasked questions you’ve ever swallowed and stomached - Who am I? What am I

made of?

That somehow, like immigrant English, all that foreignness will be

cleansed out of you over time, the uncouth and undocumented; that

eventually you will be saved by someone else before you have to try and

save yourself.

But the truth is I grew up in a confused kind of culture, following a

mother who changed cities and countries like most other women change


And I love the only way I know how; holding my luggage, clutching my palms

until they turn into fists, keep swinging at that golden doorway until

there's nowhere to go but through it.”

Lillian He, Asian American.

Born in San Francisco, CA. Lives in London, UK.

Designed by Wendy W Fok
Consulted with Lillian He / Jung Ahn
Copyright 2016 | WE-DESIGNS, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

3D Printing Contest 2016

Participated in the
3D Printing Contest 2016