When Brazilian designer Rafael Morgan (http://www.rafaelmorgan.net) is not busy creating furniture, products, packaging, branding and UX for clients, he hones his creative chops on concepts and technologies that are shaping the future of the profession. A recent project is his first in a series exploring generative design, with a "minimal chair shaped object" as the starting point. Working in Rhino/Grasshopper he's able to quickly apply different modifications to the chair model, producing a set of variations for review. Colors and textures were also randomly generated, and the final models were structurally verified for strength. His output here are a series of renderings and a video, but the models could also be 3D printed or fabricated for use in the real world.
The designer is not removed from the process at all, but rather uses technology to quickly generate sketches. Morgan find it intriguing "how it sorts of mimics what we, as human designers, have been doing for centuries…Every time someone designs a chair, they are actually modifying the basic, standard chair shape that we all have in our memories, in order to fit their own requirements." In this arrangement the designer is making choices and tuning the algorithm to deliver "aesthetically acceptable chair shapes." Once the model and parameters have been set, in theory the customer could make the choices themselves. "I could easily envision a future where you could log into a "chair generator" app, based on these same principles, pick an option out of infinite structurally sound possibilities, and just print it."
Morgan is quick to point out that 3D printing for this kind of product is not yet viable in terms of cost and availability. Given the unique form of each final model, an individual production process would be required, so it seems we'll have to wait a while longer for this concept to come to life.
The video sound track was also composed by Rafael Morgan using generative techniques as well.