B-Shelves (Box-Shelves), my masters thesis, explores the relationship between design intent, generative design, mass customization and digital fabrication. B-Shelves is a mass custom furniture product that is customized through a web based system. The project looks at generative design as an enabler for different design and manufacturing processes and different designer/consumer relationships. A process of mass customization, as described by the B-Shelves thesis, is able to support consumers who are interested in customizing a design through a guided process. The design-to-manufacture process of many customizers (the consumers) to many products has shifted the traditional role of the architect. In this case, the architect must consider the design of multiple end products and focus on a framework that is able to generate both explored designs as well as numerous other customized versions.
The B-Shelves project explores three parts of this mass custom process: how form is generated (including codifying the architect’s knowledge base in a parametric framework), how form is customized (using an interactive web interface), and how numerous unique forms are fabricated (using efficiencies of mass production). Each part of the file-to-factory process is discussed in depth, as is the construction of a built prototype.