Material Computation

2012  Oxman, N., FABVOLUTION. Disseny Hub Barcelona (Ed.), A Barcelona City Council Publication,

ABSTRACT: Inspired by processes of form generation in nature, driven by maximal performance with minimal resources through local variation of material properties, this essay defines a set of computational strategies that support the integration of form, material and structure by incorporating physical form-finding processes into digital analysis and fabrication. In this approach, material precedes shape, and it is the structuring of material properties as a function of structural and environmental performance that generates design form. In proposing a unique approach to digital form-finding, the essay investigates how such processes contribute to novel ways of creating, distributing and depositing material forms. Experimental designs employing theoretical and technical frameworks are presented, discussed and demonstrated. Their applications include product customization (architecture and furniture design), rapid augmentation (medical device design) and variable property fabrication (FAB design). Developed as approximations of natural formation processes, these design experiments demonstrate the contribution and the potential implications of a new research and design field. Link to book.

Material Computation in FABVOLUTION

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