From Function to Form: Different approaches to 3D Printing
Form follows function; this is the great legacy that the modern design movement has left us. Forms arise from the analysis of the function and everything is exactly as it should be – essential and functional.
MONOPOD is a smart, compact, and easy to print tripod for smartphones. A classic example in which form follows function: light lines, simple design, no unnecessary elements.
Is this really all there is to it? Are there different approaches to the question of form? Can you design a form without a function?
Parametric Design: Function in liquid form.
Liquid form is that which can be modified by the end user. The design can be shaped and modified to fit the user’s desires. It does not have an a priori form and takes shape only when the end user takes charge of the design. The goal of the designer should not be to design final forms but to create skeletons that are modifiable by the end-user. The maker completes the creation by entering parameters that they desire. Parametric, code-based design software like OpenSCAD has great potential here.
As examples, NESTY, TALYA and ELYON, are three lamp shades that share the same source code; working mainly with OpenSCAD. The code-based algorithm that generates them is the same, but by changing few parameters, you create new and unexpected shapes.
Solidatafy: giving shape to concepts.
Another approach that I’m experimenting with is giving shape to data and concepts. Solidatafy means to make a solid from data. Makings things tangible allows you to use other senses beyond only that of sight. Solidatafy is the crystallization of information in a tactile form.
KOAN is a pendant that is designed to stimulate reflection on very important subjects in contemporary society. In this case, the shape reflects data about the continuous flow of refugees fleeing from war and poverty in recent years.
Design: synthesize different approaches.
Is it possible to synthesize what we’ve made so far? Combining ideas usually brings out our best work. In my case, I was looking for a special gift for my girlfriend’s birthday. The idea was to create a parametric, code-based skeleton in which the basic shape is modified by adding personal information. I used my girlfriend’s birth date (expressed by the diameter of the three curved lines, dd / mm / yyyy ) and age (expressed by the angle of rotation along the Z axis).
From this personal project was born the idea for KRONOS, a ring in which each groove has meaning. In this case the shape reflects the global weapons trade in 1960, 1980 and 2015 according to data published by SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute).
It was this kind of thinking that made me choose CASTOMIZED as the name for my adventure in 3D printing. A play on words that put together “Cast” intended as a mold, a base to give form, and “Customized” meaning personalization.
We’ve talked about algorithms, data, and numbers, but sometimes it’s wonderful to get carried away by creativity; especially with Christmas coming!