I know I’ve been harping upon generative art for years now, but this is the essential reason I love it. When a generative system is well-designed, it’s a boundless fount of potential objects. Here’s a beautiful example of a lighting system called Hyphae, explained in gorgeous detail at Designboom, in which a lamp’s design is “grown,” one at a time and then printed by a 3D printer. The studio who makes it, Nervous System, creates lovely jewelry pieces as well. I bought one of their Radiolara bracelets years ago, and it’s still a favorite. Nature never goes out of style!
I am very, very interesting in this idea surrounding mechanized design. The act of designing is taken to a meta-level in which we don’t identify specific content, we identify frameworks and rules within which content happens. You know? Generative. There’s a ton of examples, but generative design processes still seem to not have really hit fever pitch in popular culture just yet.
Okay, so here’s an example, if you’re a print designer used to thinking about specific objects: consider magazine style guides. When you make rules for a recurring magazine, you don’t actually design the magazine—you design its rules. It’s a generative process which can be mechanized. The magazine is not your focus of direct attention, but the object resulting from your focus. Slightly different meaning.