The Bubble Palace designed by architect Antti Lovag and commissioned by industrialist Pierre Bernard, is located on the French Rivera. This was completed in 1989. If one were to step inside this home, he would find tubular halls and round windows. I admire this project in that it broke free from the concept that structures have to be made out of hard lines and rectangles. By incorporating round shapes and circles, this house no longer feels like an average home, but a house one would see in a cartoon. A globular structure allows this home to feel a bit more enticing, as well as evocative.
Elona Van Gent’s 3D printed sculpture, Wheelclawsteeth, demonstrates how digital fabrication can be used to create works that replicate naturally occurring or handmade forms. With the use of a Laminated Object Manufacturing machine (or LOM), Elona crafts “alluring and discomforting creatures” with laser-cut paper. Not only do I find her work captivating in a Guillermo-del-Toro-like fashion, but I deeply admire Van Gent’s ability to push the boundaries of computer generated sculptures to create work that could not exist in an art world void of technological advancements. By developing sculptures that appear naturally grotesque with the use of machinery, Elona challenges the existing polarity between digital fabrication and traditional sculpture. I find this to be a commendable objective in a climate where computer generative art is regarded as separate and distinctive from hand-crafted sculptures and installations.
The project that I have decided to focus on is Living Mushtari by the MIT Media Lab. While I was first drawn to this project because of the beauty of the generated wearable factory, what I admire the most about this project is how the team who created this project were able to harness biological processes and adapt them for greater human use in a non destructive/ obstructive way. While throughout history humans have not hesitated to destroy for personal gain, Living Mushtari allows for existing biological structures to take place naturally and respects its processes. This project was created using generative growth algorithms that mimic patterns in biological growth, and produce recursive forms over time. The products of such algorithms are useful materials such as pigments and drugs that are a product of microbial symbiosis. While this project serves a practical purpose, the creator’s artistic sensibilities are showcased as the wearable forms are produced in a way that reflect symmetry and conform to the shape of the wearer’s body, as well as highlight the detailed bacterial channels via colors and transparency.
The project I’m analyzing is Polymorph by Jenny Sabin. I admire the details within the structure as well as the simplicity of color. Through the use of generative computer concepts, she was able to create a format for the arrangement of various ceramic units. Based purely on the appearance, it reminds of me of the inner biological makings of a human body, however she refers to it as “feedback derived from material constraints.”
Judging by the appearance of the project, I can assume that the project was made using a mold in order to create the textured ceramic finish of the sculpture. I don’t know how she was able to get the shape, however in her overview of the project she states she used novel applications of ceramic components in order to create a 3D prototype. The final product shows the artists sense of simplicity as well as craftsmanship that was able to be manifested through computer aided technology.
One of the projects being completed by the Mediated Matter group at MIT involves converting data sets into physical, 3-dimensional forms. This allows a person to utilize both visual and spatial perception skills to better understand the data being represented. Data visualization can be both interesting and informative in 2D, but bringing it to life via a new type of 3D printing is impressive and possibly a big leap forward for academics.
The special “algorithm” here is not as much digital as it is physical – the printing process involves different materials that are printed in “expected” places. This means that the physical manifestations of the data can have high accuracy of detail, especially in the color. This data-centered focus is important in that it makes us think about data in unique ways, something that I addressed in my last looking outwards post as both forward-thinking and effective.
This project is called “La Cage Aux Folles”, and was made by Warren Techentin Architecture (WTARCH) and placed in the courtyard gallery of Materials and Applications in Los Angeles, California. It was made in 2014, and was designed to be like a combination between a Mongolian yurt and a cage. It uses generative algorithms with linear elements and parametric surfaces to figure out where to bend the pipes, which create an extremely stable structure. I looked for what exactly generative algorithms were, but could not find much information. The creator’s artistic sensibilities are present in the final form, as flow was a major consideration when designing the structure, and it is very appealing to look at. I admire how foreign it looks, and how it’s use is for habituation but looks like a sculpture, not like something meant to withstand any force. The fact it is so strong is remarkable, and I think digital fabrication is what allowed something so pretty to also be so structurally sound.
The Morpheus Hotel at the City of Dreams resort in Macau, China, was started in 2013 and finished earlier this year by Zaha Hadid Architects. It’s impressive seeing something so crazy and so obviously designed on a screen come to life. All of those slightly different pieces was fabricated and put into its very specific place. The project was likely made with a combination of Maya and Gehry Technology’s Digital Project modeling software, as director Patrik Schumacher released in an 2014 interview that those were what the company was using at the time. ZHA is well known for their use of parametric design, and this project is just taking that and heavily applying it to the overall facade and structure. Scale-wise that means there’s a lot of almost identical parts that each had to be custom made, something the 1.1 billion-dollar budget reflects.
The Brick Labyrinth is a project done at ETH Zurich’s Architectural department using programming in the design process and robotics fabrication. On their website it is described that「 The Brick Labyrinth is re-visiting one of the most archaic building techniques, dry-stacked brick walls, in a completely new setting…the Master of Advanced Studies used the multi-robotic gantry system in the Robotic Fabrication Laboratory to build a full-scale architectural installation of a brick labyrinth. Students used computational tools not only to iterate through designs but also to check the stability and feasibility of the produced structures and to generate the sequence and commands to control the multi-robotic fabrication of the final structure. 」
I took a robotics centered architectural design studio last semester and we took a lot of inspiration from the ETH program. I am interested in especially how robotics fabrication can aid construction processes and its ability to accurately execute complex designs within a shorter amount of time because of the streamlined process.
Vespers: Series II is the second of a three-part series produced by the Mediated Matter group at MIT’s Media Lab that explores how designing masks relates to “design (with) life.” This part examines the transition between life and death, and marks a progression from the first part of the project- looking at death masks as a cultural object- to the third part- using death masks as a “functional biological interface.” A theme that surrounds this second part is the idea of metamorphosis, moving from a symbol of life and death to the concept of wearable skins and interfaces.
The structures of these masks are designed to match actual biological structures observed in nature, and spatial mapping algorithms are used to translate color and geometry from the first part of the series into internal structures in this second part. Each mask also has a unique dataset that informs the distribution of the materials in its print.
I admire how a concept so abstract as this can create objects that are so detailed and delicate-looking from computer generation. It amazes me that these were 3-D printed, but I suppose 3-D printing has evolved so much in the past few years, where glass and porcelain can be printed now too. It’s also very interesting conceptually, to consider how the idea of life and death can transform into a technological and biological tool for skins and surfaces.
For this week’s Looking Outward post, I decided to write about a project called Zero/Fold Screen made in 2010 by a design studio called Matsys.
This screen is made of wood, and is light-filtering. It was placed in a gallery in Canada. I was inspired by this project because they used digital fabrication to help reduce their material waste. A lot of times when building these types of projects, the size of the material is considered at the end, resulting in a lot of wasted material. This project generated components based on the size of their materials, reducing waste. It wasn’t clear what software they used to create the components, but they were cut on a CNC.
I think it’s really cool that they’re using this technology to create something that is practical for use and for sustainability. It inspires me to use technology to create things that are beneficial for the world. It shows me that it is possible to be mindful of the implications of what I am creating, so that I can make the best thing possible.