This week, I chose to explore the world of parametric design and crafting by looking into artist Jimmy Jian‘s ceramic pieces. He creates a variety of ceramic containers through 3D modeling. Using Grasshopper (a Rhinoceros 3D plugin), he is able to produce many iterations of whichever design he is working on at the moment. What I appreciate most about his pieces are the elegant, repeating qualities they have, simplistic in form but complex by nature.
Jian’s process involves first modeling the forms using Grasshopper. Then, using a 3D printer, he is able to print out the forms to a very high degree of accuracy. Those forms are then inserted into plaster to create molds, which are then used to slip-cast the ceramic pieces. The resulting pieces are then glazed in various colors and fired. This workflow allows Jian to replicate the pieces in any number he wishes, as long as he keeps the mold intact. The artist’s sensibilities show in the color of the glazes he uses, keeping to shades of blue and blue-green. He also seems partial to subtle, repetitive patterns.
Nervous System is a design studio that focuses on the intersection of science, art and technology. Their primary interest is creating forms inspired by natural phenomena, and they have created some really amazing structures by generating algorithms inspired by nature. One really neat project that I found was Floraforms.
Floraform is a generative design system that they created using inspiration from the way that leaves and flowers grow. They first created a simulation that they could observe growing, and that information was used to translate into 3D forms. The studio calls it a kind of digital gardening where they are cultivating algorithms.
This is a super cool project to me. The sculptural forms really catch my attention, but it is also really interesting to see the different ways that they are exploring growth through computational models.
In addition to this specific project, the studio has a lot of really cool research happening around these topic areas, and it is exciting to see so many different forms being generated around the idea of exploring natural forms through technological advances.
I am really interested in the Polymorph project by the artist Jenny Sabin. This project is especially interesting because of how she combined form and function. The structure is made of clay and was digitally fabricated. The sculpture is rooted an algorithmic process that formulates the way that the ceramics are formed, fired and connected.
This piece of work is also interesting in how it uses natural structured in order to build it own structure, that this work could only be created aided with technology. As Jenny Sabin writes: Biology provides useful systems-based models for architects to study and understand how context specifies form, function, and structure. While the first phase of this design work resides within the spirit of research and discovery, the current phase engages design-oriented applications in experimental ceramic material systems ranging from new concepts of materiality to adaptive structures and complex geometries. Key to this design research is the exploration of new tectonic organizations for application at the architectural scale.
The building-scale 3D printing employs small robotic agents to build a mini version of construction structures with material that acts as a mold and “thermal insulation layer.” MIT developed this system to provide 3D printing models for building models so that architectures and scientists could better visualize and collaborate to produce and build strong, technologically advanced buildings. The technology that MIT established also allowed building utilities to be incorporated into the model so that it can accurately predict future circumstances and provide solutions to any uprising issues in the model. I found this interesting because it improves the rate of success as well as minimizes any risk of danger or negative influence on civilians’ safety. I suppose the algorithms used to generate work comes from positioning potential structures as well as generating buildings with accurate angles and arrangement of components of the structure. The creator’s artistic sensibilities are manifested in the final form because it is literally an enlarged version of the building-scale 3d printed model while guaranteeing success of any wiring or plumbing or sturdiness involved.
Adidas has been exploring the application of 3D printing to sneakers in the past few years. It was not that long ago when Adidas was able to release their innovative 3D printed shoe, which was created with a Silicon Valley startup company called Carbon. The 3D printing method they use to manufacture is told to be printed with zero support material, in other words, the company is not only able to reduce complex traditional manufacturing processes but they can reduce raw material costs as well. This printing method, which Carbon calls the Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology, is applied to producing Adidas’s 3D printed shoes. What I admire about this production is how effective 3D printings are to create Adidas runner shoes all economically, environmentally, and visually. The open and dense lattice structure of the shoe’s cushion not only gives aesthetic patterns but it also offers a perfect lockdown fit to the feet and stable cushioning to the shoe. Thus, the lattice also shows the creator’s artistic sensibilities to create the most suitable structure for the shoes. The fact that Carbon and Adidas was able to come up with a 3D printed shoe using the perfect material and structure shows how much they have been studying the 3D printing technology, and shows how successful they were with their final product. This success really made me admire the AdidasXCarbon collaboration for 3D printed shoes.
Anthozoa is a 3D-printed dress that debuted during Paris Fashion Week Spring 2013. MIT collaborated with fashion designer Iris Van Herpen for her show “Voltage.” They used Stratasys’ unique Objet Connex multi-material 3D printing technology that incorporates both hard and soft materials, which add a nice contrast and movement to the piece. When you look at this design up close they seem rather like underwater corals or something that is related to nature.
I was amazed by the complexity but yet cohesiveness to the design. Unlike other dresses that also have variety of textures by incorporating 3D printing definitely adds more depth and texture to the design making it especially unique.
Aguahoja is a project that explored how natural materials that have been put to waste by humans can be digitally designed and computationally fabricated by 3D printers or other robots. A lot of focus is geared towards the creation of biopolymer composites that can be used in an industrial setting. The aim is to disrupt the vicious cycle of obsolescence and the production of synthetic waste. The shape and material of composition is informed by physical properties, environmental conditions and fabrication constraints. All these factors are calculated into the 3D printing in order to best mimic biological patterns.
I think in the case of Aguahoja, there doesn’t seem to be a direct connection to the creator’s artistic sensibilities, but I think in a way the fact that their is a strong emphasis in a naturally formed shape, shows that they form is valued over function to some extent.
Dana Kupkova’s Advanced Synthesis Option studios confront ecological and biological processes using datasets in parametric software such as Grasshopper, which forces the architectural design to ultimately respond to the information generated from the program. Her studios analyze the natural ecology and environments of specific sites to generate designs whose forms are dependent on the nature of the site; this degree of specificity and synthesis of location produces highly contextual forms.
Kupkova’s work is admirable because the resultant forms respond to a complex set of variables inputted into a computational process; it intelligently uses information that is inherently natural and difficult to predict to produce functional spaces. The means of analysis and product seem highly incompatible, but they do, however, work complementary in that the parametric outputs rely solely on the input of ongoing ecological data.
A piece of digital fabrication that interests me is the FIBERBOTS program at MIT. Given that I am new to the world of coding and have had little exposure to it prior to this year, my view of its possibilities were more limited to the digital scale. As this semester first challenged what I thought code was possible of doing in the 2D scale, reading about FIBERBOTS. What this tool is capable of is shocking to me, and seeing the artful, yet practical forms they are designed to create opens me up to possibilities and functions in programming that I had never applied to art or design before.
The BUGA Fibre Pavilion is designed by the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) and the Institute for Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at University of Stuttgart. The pavilion design uses the most cutting-edge technologies. They use fibre composites and robotic technologies to build the load-bearing structure. Therefore, the project is extraordinary lightweight.
The pavilion mimics natural and biological structure. It is eventually made with 150,000 meters of spatially arranged glass- and carbon-fibers and the structure spans freely for more than 75 feet. With computational design and robots, fibrous filaments are freely placed between rotating winding scaffolds. Use of pioneered technologies broaden the possibility for form making.