All too often, we think of our computers as tools; we expect them to behave a certain way in response to our commands, which represent a desirable end result. Chinese industrial designer Zhoujie Zhang, however, has an intimate familiarity with how computers work, and his Digital Vessel project goes beyond just ‘fabrication’ of human thoughts. Each of the two designs has a series of rules associated with it in his design program that limits the shape, style and size of each design. The computer generates one of the many possible patterns that can logically fit within these constraints. The real surprise, however, is when the resulting designs are modeled and hand-folded as three-dimensional paper models, thus revealing their unique qualities and limitations. This is eventually made manifest in a limited edition stainless-steel vessel that a unique set of bends and folds.
To this end, Zhoujie is raising $15,000 for his project on Indiegogo, which will help him fabricate the individual ‘specimens’ of the vessel and bring them to his eager audience. A $120 early-bird pledge will get you a limited edition version of the vessel that is numbered out of 100, but its eventual MSRP will be $250. The project has a strong element of trial and error. “We have designed almost 80 vessels and most of them cannot even be folded into 3D,” he said in his Indiegogo video. However, even these mistakes will likely be the inspiration for his future forays into furniture and object design. Judging from some of the other objects in his studio, we’ll soon be seeing chairs, stools and coffee tables from Zhoujie and his computer. The complexities of these crystalline objects, we’re sure, will become even clearer as they’re replicated.
Check out the gallery below to see Zhoujie’s vision in action.