The only design prompt was to design a patterning for his dining room cabinets using Hiroshige’s famous Great Wave off Kanagawa as inspiration.
Through studying the print, I noticed a few elements that I knew I wanted to encapsulate in my modern day, computational design / digital fabrication, take on it. Hiroshige’s wave is at just about to crash down, a little past its cresting point. This provides a dynamism and tension in his work. His wave flows from right to left just like Japanese writing, so that it hits the eye as you scan the painting. The client and I agreed that our wave should flow from left to right, just like the american eye reads.
The particles that the wave gives off and the shape of the boats gave me the idea to create a particle system that I could control through the specific forces applied. In this way I could shape the shape and appearance of the wave and the particles. So I coded a particle engine in a custom C# component in Grasshopper so I had full control over the forces. Once the engine was complete I created a flowfield for the particles to follow and gave instructions such as “avoid your neighbor” and “keep your line of sight clear” so I could create just the effect I was looking for. Then, I was able to run the simulation and pause it just at the moment I liked. I then baked the particles into Rhino and ran it a few more times so I could manipulate the final appearance by hand.
Originally I had conceived of the particles being drawn by the edge of a routing bit attached to a robot with at least 5-degrees of freedom, so I could control the angle of the cut and create calligraphy-esque cuts in the plywood, exposing the layers of ply. The client decided to fabricate the doors with a 3-axis CNC Mill and a tapered routing bit. The bit would start at the surface of the wood and dive down and then up as it draws the particles, creating tapered ends.
Particle Wave Cabinet
- Categories →
- Computational Design