Geometry Lab

All things must start somewhere… The start of a new project, with new growth from the seeds of old ideas.

Seed

Welcome to my Geometry Lab! At this stage, this is an archive of text used to document my thinking prior to setting up my geometry lab blog. I have yet to completely edit and translate this into a succinct essay. I have however removed some arbitrary outdated text, so the linking between paragraphs may not make sense. For the time being it will give you, and whoever else reads this, a look into my thinking. I began with thinking about what the outcomes of this Geometry lab may be…

The Scope of the project is fairly straight forward.

• Undergo a design research and experimentation phase.
• Seek out funding, sponsorship, competitions, or commercial projects.
• Define a brief and refine the scope of the project.
• Undergo a design development and finalization phase.
• Fabricate and assemble the design.
• Conclude with a Kick ass opening party.

The Title Geometry Lab refers to experimentation with digital geometries for output as fabricated forms spaces and structures. The sub-title Mutations, Skins and Surface Typology refers more explicitly to some of the ephemeral ideas I have of exploring organic shapes under the general theme of Bio Mimicry. I’ll be continuously updating some of my more recent experiments, software opportunities and other ideas of interest.

Lastly, my main motivation for this project is to be able to produce something great while simultaneously sharing the experience with like minded people. It’s a hobby. Some people join a soccer team, some people tinker with their cars. I like making stuff.

This design work is likely to be conceptually based… 3 Major concepts. Each of which explore different forms/ digital and physical methodologies, all of which fall under one major theme/topic etc. What that is at this stage is open for discussion. A few classic examples might be:

• A project that relates to the city and the people of Miami – socially, demographically, spatially.
• A project that explores new advents of materiality, texture, form in relation to digital/ physical technologies, i.e. a somewhat technical, discipline specific idea.
• A project that incorporates a dedicated functionality; perhaps exploring the ideas of interaction with it’s audience.
• A project that simply sets out to mimic that what we see in nature, and contrast it with linear man made forms and spaces.

Whatever it is… There is one quality of the final design that I would like to distill in it’s creation. A feeling of obsession that matches the hard work, dedication and passion that is apparent in The Very Many Sculpture i contributed to in 2011.

If this idea expanded to an exhibition/ gallery space… Something to consider might be to invite contributions from the public. There are so many people from around the world in the design/computation/generation/fabrication field, perhaps it would be nice to centralize this into one open space. Conveniently and by no coincidence, if many of these invited guests, (some of whom I’d like to meet in person anyway) are not able to make it. Perhaps they can have their designs fabricated and delivered locally, so that they may be built by a local team. Simultaneously, entry’s could be opened up to students as well… perhaps school projects or new creations. This could also be a good way to find help building our much larger installation.

To widen the scope even further… Introducing 3D printing as a medium feels fairly appropriate too. The possibility of items for sale, or for purchase online so that they may be remade could work. Taking an online, Etsy, Shapeways, Ponoko, and having a real ‘pop up shop.’ Sales could be commission based, or perhaps to subsidize our own costs, artists may be willing to pay a nominal fee. All details far from the real tasks at hand.

• Base : Several Edges and vertices in a hexagonal array. Stack: Subsurf, Skin (scaled vertices), Subsurf, Decimate, Triangulate (bevel)

Had an interesting idea today. Throughout this experimentation stage, perhaps it would make sense to tailor each series of experiment directly to a formal outcome. So they are not just a series of of patterns, or formless sketches, but rather a full fledged outcome. Where the design is in itself of immediate value and the experimentation of long term value. For example, each of the finalized outcomes could be uploaded to Etsy and Shapeways as 3D printable and laser-cut artworks or products for purchase. This would set an interesting precedent for works to come, allow the public to gauge the success of the experimentation phase, allow for for formal development at later stages, and perhaps even discover some ideas that were completely off the radar.

Another idea was to begin preparing text defining the context in which our work exists, both as a background for the layman, and as a way to clearly share our intention with potential financial partners and our audience in the future.

It’s one thing to make things that look cool, it’s another to understand what it means to our field, where it came from and where it’s going. My favorite researchers / designers are those that have written not just technical information about their design methodologies, but have revised a theory that is grounded within the works of others, and why their work differentiates them others. Most importantly however, this information has to be succinctly written… Something i struggle with. Time to start keeping an eye out for beautifully written sentences to quote from.

I was thinking about something… the difference between rapid form generation and meticulously slow fabrication and assembly. It seems odd to me that cutting edge design and computing capabilities allow for a fast turn over between ideas… but once that idea is locked in, you are forced to follow through with it completely. Perhaps it would be nice to find a balance. Who is to say that hundreds of hours isn’t spent meticulously refining the mesh of a model to be built. That’s the design phase… that’s the place where you want to be putting in the hours… not just in the building.

I continued to play around for a while the other day. I spent a long time going through different mesh editing techniques… individually joining and refining the mesh in different ways as to create something unique while simultaneously thinking about fabrication of a surface and it’s ease of assembly. Interesting… Perhaps I will come back to it. No cool images though. They aren’t particularity descriptive as to what I was trying to do. I also spent a while researching new addons to blender, some of which are pretty cool. One in particular, generated a form through mathematical equations… was pretty fun. (When I was learning algebra at school, maybe I’d actually have learnt something if there were some practical visual output.)

So Today! I spent the afternoon messing around with one of the more interesting addons…. a new modelling and form technique I’d seen before but had never really experimented with. It’s called Cell Fracturing. A method through which a form is broken into voronoi cells. The cell fracturing addon looks powerful. I’ve only been messing around for a few hours but my mind has been spinning with opportunities. Especially in regards to breaking down a larger forms into smaller surfaces/ shapes for reconstruction.

This type of geometry is fairly common actually. I think partly due to it’s randomness…. in that each cell is generated around a point in space or a point on a surface as it was above. It’s very easy to generate a random array of points with particle systems. In my masters thesis I diverged away from this form/method because it was too random, and i felt it lacked an intrinsic geometry that was more controlled and was more naturally occurring. Never the less, that was a different project with different demands. Here the opportunity to take chunks of a form and piece them together separately could work really well.

In the Interest of consistency I decided to merge a design from a previous experiment with the fracturing technique from today. What an odd object. I don’t really know what to think of it. Somehow it feels contradictory to what both a faceted form and cell division are designed for. All I can think is how cool it would be to have each little ‘box’ made from a translucent plastic, with a little LED glowing softly inside. Would be a pretty lamp. I wish I could render this kinda stuff better.

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