mix between archetypical and garden chair

Chairgenics

chairgenics

5in1

Chairgenics

5in1

chairgenics1

Chairgenics

chairgenics1

Chairgenics workshop

Chairgenics

chairgenics

detail

Chairgenics

detail

chairneaolgy_tree

Chairgenics

chairneaolgy_tree

chairgenics_colors

Chairgenics

chairgenics_colors


    Chairgenics

    [Share project]

    Title: Chairgenics


    Client: t.b.d.


    Year: 2010-now


    Intentional genetic tinkering of living species has been around for centuries, ever since the first human mated two individual animals with desirable traits or grafted together two different plants with complementary features. Our greater understanding of genetics has only sped up the process and made it more targeted. What is it that we are ultimately striving for? Perfection? What does perfection even mean? Doesn’t it shift over time and between cultures? And can perfection be quantified?

    In contemplating these messy questions, FormNation has turned to the chair, that universal touchstone of design. What if we apply the science of genetic engineering to an inanimate object? By crossbreeding individual chairs with desirable traits do we eventually end up with the ultimate chair? Can there even be a perfect chair, given our always-changing demands as users? To find out, we developed Chairgenics: a continually evolving modeling experiment.

    To begin, we had to quantify the desirability of existing chair types. We enumerated a set of traits and assigned a value to each trait on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best). Most of these characteristics – ergonomics, cost, durability, and construction – could be objectively assessed. But aesthetics are subjective. So, for our purposes, we relied on a mix of FormNation’s own opinions and popular opinion (based on Google and Yahoo rankings). We also decided to limit the number of times we could mate a particular chair model. This was our way of maintaining genetic diversity.

    Armed with our variables, we were ready to begin breeding chairs – or, more accurately, morphing chair forms. We began by exploring traditional morphing software. We were frustrated with the results until we happened upon Symvol, a new 3D software by the US-Norwegian company of Uformia. Symvol morphs complex objects using mathematical volumes, and produces more logical, usable outcomes.

    After our initial efforts yielded some weird (but beautiful) results, we customized the software to more accurately mimic genetics. The new results were interesting enough to be included in a scientific paper about morphosis.

    What Chairgenics has shown us is that, while perfection remains as elusive as ever, the experimentation itself has been perfectly inspiring. Our exploration has produced exciting new forms and ideas. As we continue with Chairgenics, we might introduce whole new species into the mix. What would result from “breeding” a light and a chair? Or a chair and table? Or a chair and something even weirder? We are at the threshold of a brave new world.


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