Consumption is production.
This idea originated when I was a little more optimistic about the at-home market. Now I’m seeing it in a different way. There’s been so much hard work on machine learning and AI. We’re not developing that tech at Studio Bitonti, but I have been asking myself what this means for a design teams, customizers and manufacturers. Even if you have very small modifications made on a website, in aggregate you’re consuming and also specifying behaviour and generating a preference. You’re giving design feedback to the design team, generating value back to the brand. Because we’re not dealing with static tools, if you’re reflecting your own will onto something, then there’s a kind of production in play.
Consumption is no longer passive, consumers are both designers and manufacturers.
I’ve said that 3D printing needs a breakthrough moment, by which I mean someone’s going to figure out an amazing experience to offer. I get a tailored shirt in an hour – and I do see something like that happening. But we’re still waiting – we’ve had a lot of things that show what additive technology can do, but not that defining moment that makes makes it part of my life where I interact with it every day. It was the same thing with internet technologies. Even when Google came out, people thought ‘I’ll never use this!’.
Our products should create the next version of the human, not service humanity after it’s evolved.
It’s not about changing the world or saying we have a better approach to design than someone else. What I mean is a lot of design is reactionary. We like to work on projects where we are setting a target for something. A great example for this is SpaceX saying “We want to be on Mars.” And then you work backwards from that ambition, rather than just looking at what’s on the table in front of you. Who do we want to be and how are we going to get there? That’s how I like to approach problem solving.
Matter is media, material properties are constructs of information.
When we started in 3D printing, a major realization was I was looking at these things like an animation. They were parameters evolving over time, lots of information, very granular. Let’s say you’re using a DLP projector - you’ll have variable exposure in the projection. It’s a cross section.
Material properties directly correlate to these data sets. To me that’s a big paradigm shift.
If I work with a piece of aluminium, it has the same mechanical priorities all the way across. On an FDM machine, if I tell it to change the temperature of the nozzle from one side to the other I’ll get something more brittle on one side and more ductile on the other. These are massive data sets that represent instructions for the tools and that has direct correlation to the mechanical properties and behaviours of the materials.
Redundancy is efficiency.
The primary reason for this idea is in talking about form. When I started out on regular product design and then working with 3D printing, I couldn’t make big blocks of material any more. All this lacey, lattice-like geometry started emerged. It wasn’t that I love that aesthetically. These are high surface-area parts with low volume.
How do I use surface area to get the same efficiency. These were redundant, inefficient structures. When you couple that with economics of material production you have this formal language. It was confusing to people in the early days when you show it to them – why does everything look like spider webs?
Early in the design practice we had this idea that factories would be distributed everywhere and I still think that’s going to happen. It’s not factories in your kitchens, but definitely factories servicing Brooklyn, a factory servicing Manhattan. I think that will happen, It’s about shifting your definition of efficiency . And new technologies do that.
Francis Bitonti is speaking at Manufacturing Leadership Forum US, in Atlanta, GA, on May 15-16. For more information click here.
Have you downloaded the Manucore Guide to Disruptive Technology?