Added : May 19, 2008

Last Updated: May 19, 2008

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TOPIC / Environmental Design

Design, Material, and Biology


Design, Material, and Biology

There's a Bruce Sterling piece on Abitare, "The New Materialism", discussing the future of architecture and design in the context of mathematics and biological processes. The focus of the article is on Neri Oxman, one of the contributors to MoMA's recent "Design and the Elastic Mind" exhibition. I'd come across Ms. Oxman's work last year for the first time on Desktop Engineering, in a piece discussing the "raycounting" process she was using to generate biomorphic shapes which a rapid-prototyping service was "growing" for her. Interesting, but not the kind of engineering I've long wondered about since the first time I saw the cross-section of a bird's bone and fully understood both the amazing beauty and the structural complexity of it.

Doing a bit of research on Ms. Oxman, I came across a short video on, and in it she discusses the kinds of physics and engineering concerns I'd hoped she'd addressed in her work. Unfortunately, other than simply addressing the topic, I haven't found anything else of note. However, reading about what has been done is inspiring me to re-energize my own efforts which happen to fall in the same general arena.

For those less mathematically inclined, the work shown and discussed is still compelling and it's well worth taking the time to read Sterling's piece, as he poses an interesting question regarding the future of design.


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