Currently on show at the Pompidou Center, Paris, is a remarkable exhibition curated by Valérie Guillaume intriguingly titled Creative Multiversities. The exhibition catalogue unpacks the Multiversity part of the title as a portmanteau word, formed from the prefix ‘multi’ and the noun ‘diversity’, which ‘expresses the notion of creative universes that are both multiple and in transformation’.
So far, so murky, one might say, but as it happens this is a suitably complex label for a show which features designers, architects and researchers whose practice finds them reaching into the primordial soup of emerging technology and drawing out creative possibilities with unimaginably expansive potential.
One of the key pieces in the show is a suite of objects created by a team from MIT, lead by Neri Oxman and Craig Carter. Their objects have been defined in three-dimensions using generative software, and are inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings.
They incorporate the prospective purpose of being prototypes for protective garments or accessories. This potential purpose though, in the context of the show, is entirely secondary to the manner in which they are developed and made. The objects are realised using multi-material 3d printing technology developed byObjet, allowing the specification of different material properties within different areas of a solid object.
Another intriguing concept, by innovative architecture practice EZCT Architecture & Design Research, is based on the development of a system of polystyrene cubes with CNC cut voids which can be filled with fibre reinforced concrete to create architectural structures.
François Brument’s project for the show uses laser sintering technology to investigate the way in which recycling polyamide powder affects the form of objects. His series of vases are made using polyamide powders recycled up to 6 times in the creation of organically inspired bowl shapes.
Creative Multiversities offers a fascinating glimpse into the not-too-distant future of making. The processing capabilities of computers are now being harnessed to realise the visualisation and modelling of objects with levels of complexity previously found only in the natural world. In conjunction with rapid prototyping technologies such as multi-material 3D printing and laser sintering, forms are being realised which a few short years ago were only imaginable. Not only this, but the future of how objects and buildings are developed and defined is changing rapidly, to the point where buildings are now being largely defined using algorithms drawn from the natural world, rather than conventional dimensional parameters.
Modelling and manufacturing technologies are developing at an exponential rate and it is near-impossible to predict what the complexion of the manufacturing industry will be in a very few years time. If this show is to be taken as evidence, though, it seems more and more likely that the industry is on the cusp of a paradigmatic change.
3rd May 2012 – 6th August 2012
Place Georges Pompidou
Review written for Maynard Design Consultancy under the title ‘The Future of Making’. http://www.maynard-design.com/blog/future_making/