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Corollaria Monolith

When we bought our home in the Catskills (almost 5 years ago!), we imagined enhancing the landscape with sculptures and experiments we would create. This is the first sculpture we’ve made for our land. It’s a freestanding 9ft tall sculpture made from lasercut aluminum and hopefully the first of many. Its form references many of our inspirations from polypore mushrooms to cellular structures and byrozoans.

Album Published

Xylem Arbor Sculpture

Xylem Arbor is an aggregation of leaf-like forms that cascade up the atrium walls which are made of bent sheet metal. The form, shape and pattern of the metal “leaves” evolves and morphs as the sculpture ascends. Each leaf features an intricate perforated pattern which is algorithmically generated based on simulations of natural processes. The Xylem Arbor explores patterns of circulatory systems in plants and throughout the biological world through the lens of science and computation. The sculpture is composed of 224 unique aluminum panels which span the 120’ atrium space. As you travel up the building, the patterns, shapes, and colors morph, evoking different structures from the natural world. Design: Nervous System
Client: Centene Corporation
Location: Charlotte, NC
Fabrication: A. Zahner Company
Architect: LS3P

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Corolllaria Railing

This algorithmically-generated, lasercut steel railing was created for the new Nervous System studio building in Palenville, NY. The pattern morphs continuously along the 40 ft (12.2 m) long railing moving through different modes of pattern. Beginning at the bottom of the staircase, waves of dense cells shift into rings, then spirals and finally to large scale radial cells. The patterns recall morphologies seen in cross sections of plant tissues. It is generated through an optimization process of anisotropic centroidal voronoi diagram. The cells optimize their distribution in response to a morphic background metric.

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Growing Objects is a series of kinetic sculptures that illustrate natural growth processes. Inspired by 19th century zoetropes, these interactive sculptures consist of 3D printed objects that when spun and illuminated animate the development of complex forms; when still, they allow the viewer to examine each step of the growth process. Our zoetropes reimagine the earliest ancestors of modern day cinema and animation, the 19th century optical toys: the phenokistoscope, zoetrope and praxinoscope. We’re fascinated by these devices because they are fundamentally interactive and participatory, enabling the viewer to deconstruct the animation process. We are adapting this kinetic apparatus to illustrate and explain our algorithmic art process via 3D printing. These were produced in the summer of 2014 as part of our exhibition, Growing Objects, at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics.

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Xylem Trellis

We designed an intricate, leaf-inspired pattern to clad a greenhouse in Philadelphia, PA. The work was commissioned by SMP Architects who are renovating the Horticultural Center at Fairmount Park. The patterns will be used to create a perforated facade for the building, that functions both as a shade and a trellis. A botanical garden is a fitting setting for our work, and we are intrigued by the idea that the structure will gradually be overgrown by climbing plants. We also created another set of screens for a vestibule in the building. We generated the patterns with our Xylem software which is based on how veins form in leaves. The main design constraint was that the client wanted a pattern that varied gradually in density and would be suitable for laser cutting in plywood.

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This is an in progress project about coral reefs where we plan to combine color 3d-printing, data visualization, and a virtual environment.  It is tentatively titled "Colony" because it focuses on the lives of colonial, sessile invertebrates.

Album Published

Growing Objects

Our solo exhibition "Growing Objects" explored natural growth processes through simulation and 3D printed sculpture. It was hosted by the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics in Stonybrook, NY in August and September of 2014. Our work at Nervous System explores processes which cause structure and pattern to emerge in nature. We adapt the logic of these processes into computational tools; translating scientific theories and models of pattern formation into algorithms for design. The exhibit focused on four such computational systems: reaction (2010), xylem / hyphae (2011), laplacian (2011), and florescence (2014). These algorithmic investigations of nature were each documented by digitally fabricated sculptures and a series of posters explaining the math, science and natural inspiration behind them. Each growth process was also illustrated through 3D-printed zoetropes. When in motion, these kinetic sculptures animate the formation of complex forms and when still they allow the viewer to examine each steps of the growth process. While inspired by natural systems, these sculptures do not directly mimic specific phenomena but are instead open-ended explorations of the mathematics and logic behind them. The generated forms propose a new way of thinking about how we can design or "grow" our environment.