Friday, November 30, 2007

Arik Levy

Arik Levy designs for Materialise and many, many other companies including Vitra, Vizona, Desalto, Ligne-Roset, Gaia & Gino, Boutet, Sentou, L’Oreal, Serralunga, Baleri Italia, Lanvin, Boucheron, Alon Segev Gallery, Belux, Sector Sport Watches, Designers Carpets, Tai Ping, Baccarat, Galleries Lafayette, Swedese and Softline Allkit.

From his Paris based company L design, Arik develops projects in industrial, interior and graphic design for the European and international market. His unlimited creativity and technical skills have allowed him to work with a variety of subjects and disciplines. He works as both a scientist and a poet. “Innovation, simplicity and experimentation allow him to translate concepts into products, space and experience”, Claimed Materialise and Gaia & Gino about Levy’s work. Levy designed “Black Honey” and “Minishake” for Materialise using Rapid Manufacturing, a technique that I consider very interesting and promising.

I choose to try to emulate Arik Levy because he was one of the first designers approached for this new production method. ID Magazine called Levy a “superstar” in their article Private First Class that dealt with the challenge presented to four designers based around the idea of private. I wanted to be inspired by Levy, not be limited by form, and consider this idea of private in my work. Hollow fabrication has an element of privacy in the fact that it is indeed hollow. What could be inside? Is it for the wearer or the viewer? I played around a lot with positive and negative space and the element of shape. and came up with an original form that cannot be directly identified as anything, but figuratively speaks to the individual. I wanted my form to be free and organic; most examples of hollow fabrication have uniform thickness and harsh angles. I deconstructed this mentality to reveal pure organic form. “If you use a material in new ways, you’re creating a new molecule for the industry, the public, and yourself,” Levy said to Metropolis magazine describing the process behind some of his products. I admire Levy’s mentality, aesthetic and drive. He recognizes how important it is to think ahead, not be afraid of new technologies, or accept limitations.

I think my organic forms push the limitations of hollow fabrication. They speak differently from person to person. The size and scale of my shapes complement the human figure. They look very natural around the neck. I choose to apply surface textures that are pretty opened to interpretation. I feel it is up to the viewer to question what it is, and for the wearer, to know what it means to them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rapid Manufacturing & Janne Kyttanen

Rapid manufacturing is an additive fabrication technique for manufacturing solid objects by the sequential delivery of energy and/or material to specified points in space to produce that part. Current practice is to control the manufacturing process by computer using a mathematical model created with the aid of a computer. Rapid manufacturing done in parallel batch production can provide a large advantage in speed and cost compared to alternative manufacturing techniques such as plastic injection molding or die-casting. Rapid manufacturing may involve custom parts, replacement parts, short run production, or series production. (When the part is used in the development process only, the appropriate term is rapid prototyping.) Rapid manufacturing for large products with layer-based manufacturing from metals, plastics, or composite materials is well known for several industrial applications in the military and aerospace sectors. Small products and microsystem applications are known in medical as well as diagnostics and sensor technologies. Batch production of very small parts by rapid manufacturing techniques may offer cost and time advantages. Increasingly, rapid manufacturing is being applied to automotive, motor sports, jewelry, dentistry, orthodontics, medicine, consumer products, and collectibles.

Janne Kyttänen, born in Finland in 1974, is just one of the big names behind today's product designs created using Rapid manufacturing technologies. During his studies in Barcelona, Janne began experimenting with Rapid Manufacturing. At that time industrial designers used the technology to produce prototypes for new products, hence the name. He proved the potential of using the technique as a manufacturing tool and introduced a line of Augmented Reality based Rapid Manufactured products as his thesis for graduation. One of the sponsors of this project was the European leader in Rapid Manufacturing, Belgian company Materialise NV, who were looking for new ways to use the technology. Janne founded his company FOC in Helsinki in 2000 and in 2002 started FOC in its current form in Amsterdam while using Materialise's machines to produce rapid manufactured lights. This collaboration led to the new Materialise MGX department, which presented its first collection of designer lampshades manufactured with 3D printing techniques at the Salone del Mobile in Milan in 2003. The collection promptly won the Blueprint Best Newcomer Award at the 2003 100% Design Show in London. Today, Janne runs his aptly named company Freedom of Creation from an 18th Century townhouse at the Herengracht in Amsterdam, delving deep into unlocking the numerous potentials Rapid Manufacturing offers. The company produces unique light designs and interior accessories in highly complex and intricate forms and its endless experimenting and research into material applications has resulted in the production of rapid manufactured fabrics made up of thousands of tiny, interlocking pieces. FOC feel the potential is enormous but the fashion industry is as yet reluctant. Further experiments have produced watch straps and jewelry made from a mixture of flexible aluminum and nylon. Janne is convinced that all this is just a foretaste of what is to come: a profound change in the way objects are manufactured. No surprise he and his company won the Blueprint Best New Exhibitor Award at 100% Design 2006.

What a truly cool tool. Very expensive and originally used for prototyping, but not exclusively, until Kyttanen decided that he should not be limited in his design ideas. A 3D printer, unbelievable! Students were encouraged to find one to use but I think that until several companies start making them, they are nothing more than a pipe dream…unless someone wants to lend me 20thou?


When is tradition outweighed by advancement? Although we couldn’t say what we would do to either save tradition or move forward, it is very clear what Dubai plans to do. Dubai can either refer to one of the seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the eastern Arabian Peninsula, or that emirate's main city, sometimes called "Dubai city" to distinguish it from the emirate. The modern emirate of Dubai was created with the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. However, written accounts documenting the existence of the city have existed at least 150 years prior to the formation of the UAE. Dubai shares legal, political, military and economic functions with the other emirates within a federal framework, although each emirate has jurisdiction over some functions such as civic law enforcement and provision and upkeep of local facilities. Dubai has the largest population and is the second largest emirate by area, after Abu Dhabi.

Revenues from petroleum and natural gas contribute less than 6% (2006) of Dubai's US$ 37 billion economy (2005). A majority of the emirate's revenues are from the Jebel Ali free zone authority (JAFZA) and, increasingly, from tourism and other service-oriented businesses. Dubai has attracted world-wide attention through innovative real estate projects. But it doesn’t stop at innovative, it goes completely beyond to another plane.

This plane is one I would call Romanticism, should one look to the past for new design ideas? A similar situation was experienced in the United States when the Modernist movement took over design. Form should only follow function and nothing from the past was needed to move forward. Romanticism was born out of this mindset, claiming that it was ok to borrow from the past to make new aesthetics. It was a split situation, just the same as the designers who visited Dubai found themselves in. The conference held in Dubai discussing some of these issues was attended by Luke Williams the Creative Director of Frog Magazine and he feels that the city reflects western design but also holds on to some middle east traditions. He compared his stay to Las Vegas. Marcel Wanders made another Las Vegas comparison about the lager than life Burj Hotel that resembles the Sydney opera house on the outside but a lounge on the inside. While this city is growing faster than any on earth, it might not be getting where it needs to go. Apparently, some buildings are having traffic flow issues and have to be reconsidered. This to me show lack of consideration to way-finding, especially important to a tourist attraction that must cater to the ergonomics of all cultures. I feel that this city is desperate for tourism. The “world” that is currently under construction shows the shear massive collective that is going into all this. It is an extremely huge, massive, out of this world development that can be seen from space. Williams’s thoughts promoted the need for more processes of design. How can we shape things and make the world a better place? This idea can’t be over looked for this construction of a second world. I understand what this Arabic nation is trying to do but every speaker at this conference, including Oliveria Toscana, seemed to want more simplified design with culture and tradition in mind but the future being most important, the past with a “twist” as Wanders put it. I personally feel it’s over the top, it looks too needy. An indoor ski slope in a tropical zone? I don’t know but Disney World and Las Vegas better watch out because the Middle East is the new hot spot, and however poorly designed, it’s shear size and decadence will define its revenue. If its people would stop judging designers and its designers would step out of pre-conceived ideas I think that Dubai will be the new “place to be”