Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Materialise MGX

MGX in Milan

Materialise was founded in the early 90's and was and remains a front runner in utilizing digital technology and rapid prototyping. Materialise began by making medical equipment but in recent years has developed the MGX division which focuses on consumer goods/ objects such as home decor, furniture and lighting. They're goal is that of a "new era of mass custom design". Materialise sets out to create whatever their clients can dream up.

In 2007, MGX asked several designers to develop an object based on the theme "Private". Objects ranged from fingerprint pendant lamps by Dan Yeffet which looks at the loss of privacy, to the "Shaman" pendants of Arik Levy, where the wearer can carry something secret and spiritual in their own "micro personal universe."

(A few)Designers:
Bathsheba Grossman
Grossman's designs are driven by science (particularly astronomy) and geometry. She has degrees in both mathematics and art and is primarily a sculptor. She designed a lamp of repeating starfish for MGX. She states that her work is about "life in three dimensions, symmetry and balance and always finding the beauty in geometry." She has designed many other works including a line of laser etched glass sculptures of proteins and galaxies.

She has a pretty fantastic
Luc Merx
Merx is responsible for the "Damned Lamp" the idea of the fall of the damned. Merx pictures this lamp hanging above a dining table, where it can disturb the diners with age old questions of morality and guilt. (Frankly, not what I care to get out of my dining experience.) More interesting are some of the other ideas behind the lamp: that of the 18th century virtuosity, only now that virtuosity is created by a computer (is it still the same?). Merx also challenges three taboos set on 20th Century design: the figurative, the ornamental and the narrative. "Damned Lampshade" is certainly all three, proving that ornamental isn't necessary pretty.

Assa Ashuach
Ashuach feels that design should be "a strategy for questioning and modifying tradition." He is concerned with the visual and the physical and the relationship between them. He seeks to push the use of material by using the minimal amount and achieving maximum strength through form.

Read more about Assa Ashuach's design philosophy at:
Ross Lovegrove
Lovegrove sees himself as "evolutionary biologist" and not a designer. He is concerned with "organic essentialism" and the thought that "form grows where you need it" like nature. He is concerned with the earth, time, evolution, systems and transitions. Read more about his design philosophy


"Everything around us can be represented and understood by numbers"
Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."
Anais Nin

"The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to see."
Robertson Davis

"objects can now be a range of objects like in a family or a species. We can breed objects like we breed rabbits."
Lars Spuybroek (designer)

I think this work is pretty amazing, it's very fun to look at but many of the pieces like they were created in a 3D modeling program and printed by a rapid prototyping machine, which they were. I can't tell if they look that way to me because I knew that's how they were made before I saw them, or if that really is just the way they look. I love how the designers don't really think of themselves as designers by as scientists, evolutionary biologists (although I would like an evolutionary biologist's take on that) explorers, adventurers and mathematicians. They don't sound like artists, they sound like nerds and computer geeks, which I think is great. I love the repetition of natural forms, I love the science speak, I love the idea of a "micro personal universe". MGX just goes to show how it really is all about art and science and the two are not mutually exclusive. They're pretty much the same thing. I do wonder why most of their objects are lighting (unless it said somewhere and I missed it, which is entirely possible.)I'm sure I'll come us wiht more later, but right now my brain is grinding to a hault.

This would make a cool print.

1 comment:

Jangrrrrl said...

Great job on the research, Liz.