Digital Craft: Fabrication-Based Design in the Age of Digital Production (Neri Oxman)

How do we address the method or way of making in ubiquitous computing/digital craft?
How can we promote efficiency of use between the designed object and the tools used to create it? This is relevant to finding the right connection between the object and its context (whether user or environment).

Factory to File
The material and technique in which an object has been formed is directly linked to its behaviour – the way in which we make something is linked to what and how it will serve as a final object.
Machine fabrication should serve as a means of informing the design process, rather than the end-point in the crafting of an object.

Ubiquitous Sensing
A separation exists between “what” a building senses and “how” it does so – electronics are embedded post its production rather than considering how the sensors lend themselves to the sensing elements of a building.
Instead of “adding-on” sensors to the object, the material choice and design is aimed at and guided by an understanding of the mechanical properties that initiate dynamic behaviour.

Ubiquitous Craft
Being able to tweak formal expression and structural behaviour through direct manipulation of material properties – defines a relationship between structure and the tools used to support materialization.
– Relating material operations (ex. stretching and shrinking) to behaviour
2D stretched latex membranes were impregnated with resin so that 3D curves were created when the membranes were released. This method enables form-finding based on material properties, organization and behaviour.

Inherent tectonic: Certain construction attributes of the system at hand may be brought into consideration in the assembly process itself. The assembled system will then present a range of behaviours that have been accounted for in the fabrication and assembly processes.
This is relevant when designing adaptive systems with a complex design. The range, increments and limits of adaptibility are accounted for by melding the fabrication technique with a material’s behaviour and properties.

Conclusions
We have the ability to recreate and apply tools designed for materialization – this speaks towards the potential for custom-fabrication from a design perspective
“Design through fabrication”
The notion of a Digital Craft is manifested in this work as a design method which promotes the creation of novel structural systems through processes of digital fabrication and assembly.

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