Reaction Jewelry

Someone asked us to make Reaction-diffusion wedding bands, we liked the resulting rings so much we decided to make an entire Reaction jewelry collection! From Möbius strip rings to seashell-like earrings, each piece is intricately embossed with intertwining patterns of ridges and valleys that create a unique experience that is both visual and tactile. The designs are grown through a computer simulation of reaction-diffusion, a chemical patterning mechanism observed in a myriad of biological systems, from animal skin patterns to slime molds. The pieces are 3D printed in stainless steel, silver, and brass. Pre-order now for shipping in the end of November just in time for the holidays.

Reaction diffusion is perhaps the most canonical example of an emergent system in nature. We have explored it in the past to make our Coral cups and Reaction lamps, but we’ve been hesitant to use it in our work more since it’s been so heavily tread by other computational artists, including our collaborator Jonathan McCabe. However, we’ve also made a lot of tools for interactively working with reaction-diffusion on surfaces, including ones used at New Balance to make these crazy Kawhi Leonard shoes. We think reaction-diffusion patterns are particularly suited to jewelry due to their tactile characteristics. The jewelry pieces in our Reaction collection are just as much about the sensation of touching them as the visual aspects. 

Möbius bands

The Reaction Möbius necklace and ring are embossed on a Möbius strip, a non-orientable surface. What that means is it has no inside or outside; if you put your finger on the edge and trace it all the way around, you’ll end up on the opposite side. Go around again and you’ll end up back where you started. One of the neat things we learned about the Möbius strip from our infinite puzzles is if you add a pattern on both sides of the band (in math lingo called a “double cover”), your pattern becomes a regular ring again only twice as long as a single-sided ring. That means when we grow these patterns, we actually simulate them as a flat ring instead of a crazy non-orientable surface (which would introduce some extra complications).

Fabrication and materials

The Reaction collection features three materials fabricated with the aid of 3d-printing: stainless steel, sterling silver and polished brass. It is our first collection to feature pieces made using the Desktop Metal stainless steel printing process which fuses stainless steel powder. The photo on the right below shows the Mobius necklace in all three materials.

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