Since Henry Ford’s golden age of mass fabrication in the beginning of the 20th Century, sameness has been in. Ford’s vision of an efficient factory producing identical goods for a wide consumer base established a paradigm that remains to this day. This culture of sameness has helped to define the aesthetic language of design, advocating for the use of smooth finishes over the handmade; flawless materials over the natural.
Omer Arbel is a designer working to create unique artifacts in response to the sameness of mass production processes. One example of Arbel’s unique production process is the bronze cast 19 bowl where overspill that results from the sand casting process is integrated into the final product, creating an individuality of form.
Max Lamb is also working to define a new language of form. Carving into the beach sand of Cornwall, UK, Lamb crafted a mold for his Pewter Stool. Pouring liquid metal directly into the beach, Lamb created a finished form that displays the imperfections of the earth itself.
These critical responses to modern mass fabrication often appropriate aspects of existing production methods. In this vein, London based designer Markus Kayser has adapted digital fabrication tools in his search for a post oil product aesthetic. Harnessing the power of the sun, Kayser has adapted 3D printing technology to his desert setting; melting sand into glass and ultimately into a crude bowl.
As we move into a world of digital fabrication how will this trend toward randomness affect future product aesthetics? Will designers come to embrace inconstancies or will we continue to strive for the illusion of perfection?
Editor’s Note: For those of you interested, this post series will feature one member of the ideacious team each week, covering a wide range of topics. Look forward to hearing from our Lead Industrial Designer next week!