Neri Oxman is an architect, designer, and inventor who coined the term
“Material Ecology, which considers computation, fabrication, and the material itself as inseparable dimensions of design” (http://www.materialecology.com/projects/details/gemini#prettyPhoto).
A lot of her work, though very industrial and modern in form, is textured with organic structures, creating a hybrid between mechanical perfection, and organically flawed nature. Gemini is a constellation and the third astrological sign in the zodiac. It is represented by twins and also represents Yin and Yang, or universal balance. Oxman, inspired by these juxtapositions, creates a one of a kind piece that appears to be a collaboration between god and man, just like the two Gemini twins Castor and Pollux.
Her piece Gemini is an individual chaise lounge constructed with a CNC milled, wooden shell, and particularly crafted small scales, made from 44 varying materials that individually affect sound absorption. The two materials symbolize the twin Gemini, one human, represented by the natural wood element, and the other a god, embodied by the strange other worldly materials of bright colors and impossibly smooth texture.
“The two piece cocoon-like structure combines subtractive and additive manufacturing and continues Oxman's exploration of the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printing technology which enables a variety of material properties and color combinations to be printed in a single build” (http://investors.stratasys.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=836307).
The chaise appears to be almost shoe like in shape; it curves around the person whom sits in it, creating what the artist wants to be a womb like experience void of outside stimuli. The scales are fiery reds, oranges, and yellows, as the Gemini are ruled by Mercury, the planet closest to the sun. The lounge can be situated in two different positions, standing or laying, depending on the user’s preference of bodily orientation, emulating a fetus' rotation in its mother's belly. The piece appears smooth and modern in form, evoking a calming experience for the user.
This piece offers an escape from our daily, fast paced environment. With current technologies flooding our consciousness, and demanding our every attention, Oxman wants to offer a refuge, returning us to our most natural state of being, inside our mother’s womb. The chamber is curved around the user, encapsulating them inside the piece to create the rounded womb like chamber. The 3D printed inner scales are made out of sound absorbing material, and their rounded structure combined with that of the actual frame of the piece, absorbs and scatters sound away from the user. This again simulates the environment of a womb filled with sound absorbing amniotic fluid. This environment offers the user a distraction free space to reach total tranquility amidst faced paced, excitation rich surroundings. Reaching this peaceful state of mind generates a sense of balance, imitating the Gemini.
Oxman created a different piece Otaared, named after another deity of Mercury, though this time Otaared is a messenger to the gods. The artwork itself is a 3D printed, exoskeletal structure that is placed over the head and rests on the wearer's shoulders, chest, and back. The piece butterflies out from the wearer in what resembles skeletal flames, it has the texture of bone marrow outlined in a fiery, dark red hue, shaped in these bizarre, rounded organic forms, resembling butterfly potato chips. The piece is created to mimic an antler-like protective structure that protects the head and upper torso from attack in a harsh environment, in this case like that of the surface of mercury. The form appears organic, yet alien form in nature. Oxman’s pieces all have a semblance to biological organisms, replicating forms from earthly animals, though placed into an otherworldly context. Otaared and Gemini, question extraterrestrial exploration and innovation inspired by our planet’s known substances. She draws from cosmic and earthly energies to inspire her pieces and works very scientifically, expanding our realm of possibilities.
Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram have also begun to engineer unique pieces based off of organic biology, and just like Oxman, in the form of unique furniture. During the construction of their series Multithread, they coined the term “Force-Driven Structures” as the
“supporting frame of the objects on display—tables, shelves and desks—were determined by a custom software that analyzes, modifies and paints a structure based on the forces passing through them” (http://www.kramweisshaar.com/projects/multithread).
Each work of art is completely unique, as they are created based on the physics of supporting a particular flat plane. The pieces themselves appear as a flat surface held up by organic sinews that resemble synapses in the brain. The supporting structures are 3D printed out of aluminum by the latest metal printing technology, Selective Laser Melting (SLM). The aluminum sections were then hand painted purple in color with a transition to yellow where there is a curve or joint, highlighting the exact forces acting upon the piece. The metal structures create an organized yet tangled network supporting the flat surface and thus creating a piece of furniture just as unique as an actual organism. Like Oxman’s Gemini, Multithread is compiled from entirely unique pieces, and though furniture implies reproduction, it would be nearly impossible to exactly recreate any of these works. They serve a very specific purpose as Oxman’s piece in engineered for the user and Weisshaar and Kram’s pieces are transformed to specifically support the energy of the surface they bear. Both are incredibly unique pieces of furniture that utilize 3D printed elements, advocate very specific functions, and have a resemblance to organic material, seemingly inspired by our own biology.
Created for Exhibition:
- An intense, live vocal experience at the Paris Laboratory
- march 28, 2014 - september 15, 2014