Since my last post I have carried on the work with simulating the particles in magnetic field in order to generate patterns. I am happy with this line of research as I think it links well to the scientific side of my practice. I also like it as a starting point because it produces a lot of information which can inform the design process meaning it links to the emergent side of my practice as well. In fact just by using the curvature value of the pattern at any given point to make it 3D dimensional I can produce almost limitless forms, many of which are completely useless for the purpose I require. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, it has driven me to find an efficient way to sift through the designs to find the most appropriate results. The best way I saw to do this was to use an evolutionary solver. With this method you tell the solver the qualities you want in the design and it uses these as a “fitness” to measure all design iterations against, It goes through generations combining different parameters from different version of the design in order to develop the best result. Much like natural selection in nature, designs with low fitness levels are removed from the pool of designs and those with a high fitness value progress. I think this method not only suits this project but also my practice as it includes the computational and scientific side of my practice. I have left this process running over night and it produced 125 different generations of the design the result was a large variety of useful designs.
Admittedly it also resulted in quite a few completely useless designs which are at least in part a result of my lack of experience with the process, and as such the way I developed a fitness value may not have been the most efficient. I have researched how to develop better finesses however there is little information available, I think this lack of information is going to be an obstacle I face throughout my work as it is such a new territory of design. I have done further experimentation with developing the design using information contained within, I measured the deformation of the desk designs and then tried to add thickness only in the areas which required it. I produced 3D printed models which showed the deformation pattern. I like this idea however I think that it is completely unnecessary on the scale I am currently working, however it will be a tool I aim to use on larger projects in the future. For our Unit X project I have been doing numerous projects and live briefs mostly in collaboration with other students within the School of Art, including textiles and fashion students. I really like working with people from different genres of design, as they inevitably bring a whole different knowledge base. I have been working on a competition with Katie Quine, a textiles student for an exhibition in the Benzie building. Our design was for a series of patterned tensile sails which would span the floors as you walk into the building.
Our individual skillsets allowed us to work efficiently together as I generated the patterns for the sails and simulated the tension and positioning within the building through algorithms, whilst Katie bought a strong knowledge of materials and how they behaved as well as another way of looking at the design process other than my self-admittedly computational-centric view. I am happy to say our entry won and I think this is due to this crossover of skills and knowledge. I want to carry on collaborating with designers from different fields as it challenges my views on my practice and stops me getting into a kind of rut.
The feedback I have been receiving has been largely centered around the construction my designs, since my last post I have looked into more experimental manufacturing including robotic milling, large scale plastic and metal printing, I find these processes really exciting and I think other people would as well however I was also advised that I needed to produce a final product at the end of my design and although these processes are interesting they are also logistically hard to achieve. For example the only place I could find to print In metal with the technique I wanted to was in Holland and so organising the design being produced and shipped back creates a large number of complications and possibilities for something going wrong, which when I am coming to the end of my degree is not something I can afford. I think that the idea of needing to stay grounded when surrounded by these technologies is a really important to my practice, as there will inevitably be a lot of new processes I am excited by but I need to be able to recognise when it is appropriate to use them.
In terms of my future practice, I mentioned in the previous post getting a masters was my short term goal and essential to achieve many of my long term goals. I was recently offered a place at Harvard Graduate School of Design on the Master of design studies (Technology , which was my top choice for a masters. I think this has really changed my perceptions of what I can achieve within my practice and I am really looking forward to going on to develop my skills and experience on a completely different style of course. This is an exciting opportunity which I am looking forward to and will teach me different skills which I hope when used with those I have been taught on 3D design will allow me to develop my practice and achieve my long term goals of running my own research lead studio.