In the past decade, the relationship between technology and craft has seen a significant reversal. Once considered antithetical, or even antagonistic, technology has entered into a surprising symbiosis with craft. Rather than bracing for obsolescence, artists and artisans across creative fields are embracing digital tools as the new medium for human expression. This process ultimately gives the impression of a creative “hand” still at work, even if aided by machines.
Armed with prodigious expertise in software (and developing own programming,) our team came up with creative solutions to bridge technology and craft: Modern Ornamental: a new form of digital sculpture.
Utilizing rendering software widely available (like 3DSMax and Rhino) coupled with algorithmic modeling programs, renderings are transformed into printable objects. We focused on hollow form plastic molds for economy—to be filled with standard and colored concrete. Through exhaustive experimentation, we found the perfect balance of material cost, efficiency and strength, ensuring that the molds can be easily reproduced.
Additionally, the easily stored digital catalogue of parts would allow for easy reprinting of a mold, should an element ever need replacement or repair. Pieces could simply be removed from the building, and a new one could be reprinted and recast on-site the same day. While current printing capabilities are limited in size, machines capable of printing larger, even continuous lengths are currently coming to market. With a proprietary plate connection system which is formed into the printed area (facilitating easy attachment), construction sites could soon become an efficient assembly line of printing, curing, and attachment, with no shipping or lead-time costs.
This process will not only usher in the forgotten craft of the “hand” into the modern age, but also democratize the process of design, allowing practitioners from divergent fields to execute what was previously unimaginable.