Designing Parametric Matter

Adam Blaney, Jason Alexander, Nick Dunn, Daniel Richards

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

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This paper presents a series of design experiments that seek to move beyond today’s computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacture (CAD/CAM) technologies and investigates alternative material practices based on programmable self-assembly. When using CAD software, 3D designs can be rendered extremely flexible and adaptable such that changes to an objects size, colour, transparency, topology, or geometry can be made quickly and easily. However, once digital designs are converted into physical objects via typical CAM technologies, this capability for adaptation usually dissolves as objects are typically fabricated using inert materials and no consideration of a material’s computational abilities. The series of design experiments discussed in this paper help to rethink and re-imagine the possibilities of design and making with adaptive fabrication processes. The design experiments explore mineral accretion and generative paint recipes. Mineral accretion is predominantly controlled via a process of electrolysis to produce adaptable crystal structures that are grown on cathode scaffolds within a volume of seawater. The generative paint experiments expand on the mineral accretion work to explore how material self-assembly can be guided using less restrictive scaffolds. The experiments reveal how ‘contrast’ can be exploited within the design process as a means of guiding and monitoring material scale self-assembly. Through reflection of these material experiments, this paper seeks to provoke discussion about the role of design within future manufacturing systems, and the possible physical properties of future designed objects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIASDR 2019: Design Revolutions. International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2019
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2019


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