Ornamental Tectonic

Project Description


Kevin Rotheroe

Mass customization and production have compromised two key components in contemporary design: craft and innovation. Contemporary tools allow us to make design decisions so quickly that little time is left for critical decision making. Parallel to this, as tools become increasingly advanced, designers become more reluctant to exploit them.
Islamic ornament was used as a starting point in a semester-long investigation, specifically because Islamic ornamentation incorporates both strict geometrical patterns and free-form arabesque calligraphy. The project hinged on the development of an analog-to-digital process: detail images were created, then manipulated digitally to become digital models which were subsequently fabricated.  This process was repeated multiple times with various materials and methods and in a variety of sequences. This iterative process produced a taxonomy that showed a range of glitches in the fabrication process and variety of hiccups in the computational software used to generate images and forms. Instead of rectifying these idiosyncrasies, they were used as moments of inquiry that allowed for new iterations. The design of the both process and objects were a feedback loop that allowing for greater control over craft.