EDG Architecture | Engineering

EDG Architecture | Engineering

New York, NY


Modern Ornamental - A New Form of Digital Sculpture

Grace Chi
May 7, '18 3:56 PM EST

In the past decade, the relationship between technology and craft has seen a significant reversal. Once considered antithetical, or even antagonistic, technology has entered into a surprising symbiosis with craft. Rather than bracing for obsolescence, artists and artisans across creative fields are embracing digital tools as the new medium for human expression. This process ultimately gives the impression of a creative “hand” still at work, even if aided by machines.

Armed with prodigious expertise in software (and developing EDG's own programming,) our team came up with creative solutions to bridge technology and craft: Modern Ornamental: a new form of digital sculpture.

Utilizing rendering software widely available (like 3DSMax and Rhino) coupled with algorithmic modeling programs, renderings are transformed into printable objects. We focused on hollow form plastic molds for economy—to be filled with standard and colored concrete. Through exhaustive experimentation, we found the perfect balance of material cost, efficiency and strength, ensuring that the molds can be easily reproduced.

Additionally, the easily stored digital catalog of parts would allow for easy reprinting of a mold, should an element ever need replacement or repair. Pieces could simply be removed from the building, and a new one could be reprinted and recast on-site the same day. While current printing capabilities are limited in size, machines capable of printing larger, even continuous lengths are currently coming to market. With a proprietary plate connection system which is formed into the printed area (facilitating easy attachment), construction sites could soon become an efficient assembly line of printing, curing, and attachment, with no shipping or lead-time costs.

John Meyer, Principal of EDG, remarks, "This project began with the simple goal of finding a way to salvage and restore many of the deteriorating architectural treasures in New York City, and around the world. The innate beauty and rich history of these gems were vanishing as the cost of their repair became progressively prohibitive. Recognizing the tragedy these losses, which, like Penn Station, often isn’t fully realized until after the fact, we set about creating a cost effective method of reconstruction and repair. Having achieved that, we also quickly realized that the ease and accessibility of this method of construction held the potential for a truly seismic shift in the creation of building facades. Drawing inspiration from classic styles, we transformed  those details into something modern and fresh."

This process will not only usher in the forgotten craft of the “hand” into the modern age, but also democratize the process of design, allowing practitioners from divergent fields to execute what was previously unimaginable.

For more, contact:

Grace Chi, Marketing Manager