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CONTENTS ADDLAB 10 Background Statement Objectives 12

First Year 2012 Coming Year 2013






Soft Tower


Responsive Skin 1.0









66 ADD Editorial Projects 74


APPENDIX 84 ADD Supported Courses and Events 86

Local Community and International Network


ADD Organization ADD Leadership

96 Colophon

Pages 04–07: Melting Point Toyota series by Stéphane Couturier.


BACKGROUND Digital design, robotic fabrication and material technologies are bringing about a paradigm shift in the physical world of our built environment. We are moving away from serial reproduction towards serial permutation; from copies towards iterations. At an unprecedented scale, digital technologies introduce variance, mutation and flexibility into industrial mass production. Aalto University is a future-oriented institution which offers a unique opportunity to combine economics, engineering, design, architecture and art, and to create a new trans-disciplinary research platform focused on exploring the potential of the paradigmatic shift to digital design, fabrication and material technologies for a multiplicity of disciplines.

STATEMENT ADD is an organization dedicated to developing the unique ‘Aalto University approach’ to 21st century research. The laboratory’s aim is to create innovation-based digital design, manufacturing and material technology that are commercially viable, culturally relevant, and valuable to society at large. ADDLAB is a site where the design fields are in dialogue with other disciplines, such as mechanical and civil engineering, art and material sciences. It is a place for exploration, creativity, provocation, and risk-taking, as well as a site for thought, research and production.


OBJECTIVES ADD’s objective is to become a renowned, international design research laboratory which is networked to a community of worldclass researchers, professionals, Aalto University students, and professors, as well as local and international companies. ADD’s public programs, such as lectures and courses, focus on building a multidisciplinary local and international audience. ADDLAB is a place for learning and research which expands the possibilities of existing Aalto programs. It supports a multitude of educational programs and university departments by serving undergraduate students, those students working on their thesis project, researchers and professors. On the ADD platform, cutting edge digital design, fabrication and material technology are applied to practice together with commercial enterprises, and students, researchers, and professors from various university departments. ADD is an opportunity for Aalto University to prototype new organizational and operational models as well as new physical and digital environments for learning and research. It is a platform on which new methods of learning enabled by new technologies will be intensely explored. ADD establishes international knowledge networks by hosting and organizing a variety of lectures, seminars and workshops. Some of the events are organized by physically inviting international participants and others through means of digital communications.


FIRST YEAR 2012 During its first year, the principal goal has been to build ADD as an organization, and ADDLAB as its physical platform. ADD is also in the process of initiating a number pilot R&D projects aimed at demonstrating its capabilities and initiating collaborations with industry. ADD is developing a multiplicit y of publications for the communication and dissemination of content: ADD information brochure, ADD FOLDs newsletter, ADD leaflets for all events and projects, ADD events posters, and ADD METAPHYSICS publication series. In addition, ADD is developing a website both for communications and for documenting and making available educational content such as lectures and courses. ADD has so far arranged seven lectures and three courses. Both the lectures and courses have been well attended by a multidisciplinary audience. ADD has also supported a number of events and projects which are related to its mission, as well as events deemed significant for the Aalto University community.


COMING YEAR 2013 In the coming year 2013, the ADDLAB digital manufacturing infrastructure will be under construction. The renovation of the physical space begins in November 2012, and the acquirement of equipment is currently under way. The purchase of digital design and manufacturing machinery is proceeding by means of ongoing negotiations with the major manufactures, such as Dassault Systems, 3D Systems and Stäubli, aimed at creating long-lasting collaborative agreements which will guarantee ADD’s continued access to the latest technology. ADDLAB as a platform will host the FIMECC Factory group of researchers in 2013 and execute the first of four phases of the MANU research projects coordinated by FIMECC. In the coming year 2013, ADD will offer five courses and arrange ten public lectures. The courses will be open to students from any department in Aalto University. The Departments of Design and Architecture from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture and the Departments of Engineering, Design and Production and Civil and Structural Engineering will credit participation in courses and lectures offered by ADD.



SPACE ADDLAB occupies an existing industrial facility located in the School of Engineering in Aalto University’s Otaniemi campus. The design of the spatial identity of ADD was approached as a reconceptualization of the notion of exhibition space and research facility, a site which is simultaneously a vitrine for experimentation and display yet permeable to its intrinsic industrial surroundings. This primary concept has been developed through an enveloping whitewash veil and concentrated light inter ventions which introduce an environment of suspense between the facility’s industrial past and future expectations. As a void with substance, the space is a spectacle, a cultural venue, institution and social space, as well as a creative studio and fabrication platform. All white – all colors and no color at the same time – it is a stage for laboratory life between thought and matter. Florencia Colombo – ADD Art Direction + Cultural Projects


INFRASTRUCTURE ADDLAB is currently developing a Robotic Laboratory intended to operate as a cutting edge fabrication facility which will explore opportunities within the latest digital production technologies. The Robotic Laboratory will empower researchers, students, and visiting professionals by providing an infrastructure conceived as a site for experimentation, prototyping and production. The facility has been conceived as a combination of the latest software and prototyping machinery within a unique setting that will enable the realization of a complete creative process from design to manufacturing, assembly and testing. ADDLAB attempts to develop an environment of exceptional standards which will support flexible manufacturing and digital prototyping by integrating CAD software, additive manufacturing, computer controlled fabrication machines and robots, accompanied by powerful computing hardware. Because there is a need to tap the full potential of digital design and fabrication tools, ADDLAB is establishing partnerships with companies that provide the latest technologies. The aim of partnership is to create mutually beneficial scenarios where companies, researchers, professionals and students are welcome to participate in ADDLAB’s workshops and public program, and make use of the facilities to showcase their research, production and technology. Sergei Chekurov – ADD Technical Development Heikki Sjöman – ADD Infrastructure Development Wycliffe Raduma – ADD Research + Education Development Meng Wang – ADD Technical Design



SOFT TOWER – A Research Project on Advanced High-Rise Building High-rise is a device for spatial optimization, creating peaks of density. It is perhaps the most powerful device for sustainable building due to the optimization of the urban infrastructure. Most tall buildings, however, have a bad image caused by the serial reproduction and technocratic atmosphere that conceived them. Is it possible to develop better, more exciting, ecological and humane high-rise typologies? Is there a potential for a friendly, soft skyscraper? How could change and responsiveness be incorporated in high-rises? How could we create more exciting sequences of experiences in vertical buildings? Can towers become material constellations where form, program, pattern, color and ornament are co-coordinated to produce new, more ecological sensations when people flow through them? We believe that ecologically motivated and digitally powered designs can take on existing clichés and create a new Soft Tower, beautiful enough to seduce us into exploring more sustainable ways of being and feeling in the world. This project is coordinated by ADD and executed in collaboration with UCL A Architecture and Urban Design, USA, and Aalto University Department of Architecture.

Parasitic Aggregation. Gabriel Huerta – UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Student.



SOFT TOWER WORKSHOP – Aalto University, UCLA and World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 The initial phase of the SOFT TOWER research project was developed through a joint collaboration between the architecture students from Aalto University and UCLA in the USA. During this process, the visiting students from UCLA developed a site specific research and conceptual design based on a set of locations selected by Aalto University students throughout the city of Helsinki. The resulting proposals were first presented in the context of the UCLA 2012 RUMBLE session, an exhibition where the “program installations redefine the provocative opportunities confronting the next generation of architects.” A second presentation took place in the end of 2012 as part of the WORLD DESIGN CAPITAL HELSINKI 2012 program through a series of site specific interventions positioned throughout the city.


Above: Metamorphose. Cody Campbell – UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Student. Right: Parasitic Aggregation. Gabriel Huerta – UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Student.



Left: (Metro)City. Leonard Ma – Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Architecture. Above: City Rejuvenated. Alexander Adkins – Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Architecture.


Soft Tower construction boards positioned across Helsinki as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012.



RESPONSIVE SKIN 1.0 A Research Project on the use of simulation as a part of an algorithmic design process in the design of advanced, modular building skins. Status: Design phase executed 2011–2012. Realization 2013. The Responsive Skin project focuses on a design process which enables the scripted panelization of a building form, instrumentalizing analytical data, such as solar gain analysis. We will work to uncover the technical and artistic potential of a design process which involves an ‘intelligent feedback loop’ from digital analysis or simulation with the aim of creating new, ‘responsive building skins’. The designs of the paneling systems are done within the constraints of a digital fabrication process called incremental sheet forming, in which an industrial robot presses a sheet of metal against a computer guided piston ‘field’ in order to form a mould which can be used for injection molding. The last step, before the assembly of the manufactured components on site, is a parametric BIM model. The BIM model needs to be constructed with software such as the Digital Project or Tekla in order to control the process of assembly. Subject to time and progress, the project will attempt the creation of a parametric building model from each of the designs. Kivi Sotamaa – Design Direction Robbie Eleazer – Algorithmic design ADD, UCLA, Aalto University Department of Material Technology and Aalto University Business Information Technology BIT.

Project 1. Wael Batal, Cheng Ha, Chris Harris.


Above: Unit connection and pin connection detail. Pages 34–35: Unit variations.





Pages 36–37: Project 2. Brian James Cadiz, Gabriel Huerta, Joseph Mathias. Above: Primitive geometry. Right: Shingle to shingle unit interface and sample orientations.



PROJECTS ADDLAB is initiating and executing a number of pilot projects in the present academic year, 2012–2013, aimed and launching its design research activity:

Convolute work in progress.




A research and development project on robotically operated, environmentally responsive building skins.

A research and development project on additively manufactured non-standard series LED light fixtures.

Status: Commencing October 2012

Status: In process

The Responsive Skin 2.0 project builds on its predecessor by adding real-time interactive, mechanical and chemical transformations to the building skin for the purposes of superior performativity – both technically and theatrically speaking.

The convolute project explores the combination of animation software, additive manufacturing, metalised surface treatment and VTT’s direct write/draw technology for the creation of unique, highly articulated LED light fixtures.

ADD Design Research Team: Kivi Sotamaa – Design Director Ashish Mohite, Emmy Maruta – Design Development Aalto University Collaboration: Aalto Mechatronics with Petri Kuosmanen; Brian Breuer-Harberts, Iñigo Flores Ituarte, Tatu Kalervo Pollari, Markus Selensky Professional Consultant: Robbie Eleazer – Algorithmic Design

ADD Design Research Team: Kivi Sotamaa – Design Director Ashish Mohite, Emmy Maruta – Design Development Meng Wang – Industrial Engineering Jukka Helle – Programming Aalto University Collaboration: Teemu Rönkkä – Electronics Companies: Shapeways, Metallizeit, Oras, SAAS Instruments Organizations: VTT


TURNING A CORNER A research and development project on digitally manufactured and cast joints for complex furniture spaceframe. Status: In completion. Exhibited at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art in October 2012 at the Design Colors Life exhibition of Finnish design. Turning a Corner was a project in which 3D printing and casting were combined in order to produce unique aluminum alloy joints for a freeform furniture spaceframe. The furniture in question was a glass table where custom images were printed on the underside of the surface. The printed glass and the sculptural spaceframe capitalized on the potential of digital printing, 3D and 2D, for creating customized, formally complex furniture. ADD Design Research Team: Kivi Sotamaa – Design Director Ashish Mohite – Design Development Eetu Kejonen – Engineering/Casting Companies: Konepaja Mäkelin, Marimekko


Left: 3D printed angles and table assembly. Above: Render of the finalized table.


Above: Melting aluminium. Right: Casted angles before processing.




A research project on laser-based incremental sheet forming

A research and development project on digitally fabricated housing and furniture.

Status: Commences October 2012 Status: In preparation The DDShape project develops a new technology to shape plastic sheets into 3-dimensional form directly from digital design data. The 3D shape of the design is converted to elevation contour curves and these contour curves are transferred to the sheet material by a laser and an industrial scanner system. The laser softened contour curves are then shaped with air pressure. DDShape technology offers potential to quickly make objects from custom designs and also from 3D scanned shapes. The 3D data can be transferred via the internet for production in a different location. ADD Design Research Team: Kivi Sotamaa – Design Director Ashish Mohite, Emmy Maruta – Design Development Meng Wang – Industrial Engineering Aalto University Collaborations: Principal Scientist Dr. Jouni Partanen – School of Science, Business Innovation Technology Professor Petri Kuosmanen with students from the Mechatronics Program – Department of Engineering Design and Production

ADDMATERIAL – MANU PROJECT A research project on additive manufacturing Status: Commences January 2013 ADDL AB as a platform will host the Fimecc Factory group of researchers (tbc) in 2013 and execute the first phase of four MANU research projects coordinated by FIMMECC. The focus of the research is additive manufacturing. ADD Design Research Team: Kivi Sotamaa – Design Director Wycliffe Raduma, Sergei Chekurov, Heikki Sjöman – Manufacturing Technology


The Case Study House is a research and development project which focuses on developing digitally designed and fabricated housing, accompanying building details and furniture. The end result of the project will be a collection of products as well as a community of realized case-study houses. A group of progressive and technologically savvy young artists, architects and designers will be selected to head R&D teams. Each team will produce a visionary concept and demonstrate it through a varied series of building models and accompanying products. The most successful designs will be selected for further development, and finally a few will be chosen for construction and production. The project will last three years in total; the first year focusing on concepts, the second on development and the third on realization. The Case Study Houses and associated products will be created from a number of materials, with particular focus of UPM’s wood and wood related products, including future materials such as nanocellulose. Wood and wood related products are excellent from the point of view of sustainability because they are renewable and have a long lifecycle. Material science related to wood and cellulose at Aalto University and within the company UPM is at the cutting edge internationally.



A research and development project on the seamless integration of interactive media in material surfaces such as glass.

Digitally manufactured packaging solutions from biocomposites Status: In preparation

Status: In process An interactive material project combining a 88% clear ‘nanofilm’ laminated on to glass with a Kinect camera, using a standard 6000 lumen projector and custom made particle based software to create a real-time interactive artwork and information on the glass façade of a public building in Helsinki. ADD Design Research Team: Kivi Sotamaa – Design Director Professional Consultants: Jani Isoranta, Matt Swoboda – Interactive Media Jorma Saarikko – Projection Technology Companies: Stockmann, Pro AV

Biobox combines the latest material innovations related to biocomposites at VTT with digital design, printing and lasercutting for the creation of packaging and book covers. ADD Design Research Team Technical Research Center of Finland – VTT Bio Composites Group

GLOBAL DESIGN LOCAL PRODUCTION A research and development project on crowd sourced high-end, plastic consumer products Status: In preparation

NANOSHELL A research and development project on additively manufactured Nanocellulose shell structures. Status: In preparation

GDLP is a project exploring the use of crowd sourcing and 3D printing for transforming the manner in which products are developed, marketed and distributed. ADD Design Research Team in collaboration with international design professionals Companies (tentative): Plastex, Slave

Nanoshell combines algorithmic design, simulation, free-form additive manufacturing and nanocellulose for the creation of biomimetic, optimized shell structures. ADD Design Research Team: Kivi Sotamaa – Design Director Ashish Mohite, Emmy Maruta – Design Development Aalto University Collaborations: Academy Professor Olli Ikkala – Department of Applied Physics, Molecular Materials Group Principal Scientist Dr. Jouni Partanen – School of Science, Business Innovation Technology


ADD FORUM ADD FORUM enables researchers from Aalto University and its partner universities to meet with interested professionals, researchers, and possible sponsors. The intention is to get research away from the limited academic setting and disciplinary silos and into real-world interdisciplinary applications that serve society and industry. ADDFORUM welcomes researchers that want to communicate the significance of their work by sharing it with a selected group of potential collaborators. ADD FORUM 1: Collaborative Intelligence – Brought to light the research of Aalto University’s CAD/CAM/CAE research group from the Department of Engineering Design and Production. In this forum GrabCAD and Dassault Systems shared their efforts and visions for making CAD more collaborative. ADD FORUM 2: Engineering Education, Machine Design in Aalto University – The engineering program at the Aalto University Schools of Science and Technology are undergoing a major reformation. In this context, educational developers got together to discuss the future possibilities and challenges in mechanical engineering education. Markku Kuuva presented the plans for reforming the Bachelor’s degree programs, Wycliffe Raduma presented his master’s thesis titled “Search for Best Practice in Education: Machine Design in Aalto University”, and the Aaltonaut Team presented the plans for a new Aalto-wide interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree program. Wycliffe Raduma – ADD Research + Education Development




ADD VARIANCE ADD VARIANCE is a program created to explore formal experimentation and materialization methodologies through an array of digital design and fabrication processes. This workshop program contemplates the notions of variance, mutation and flexibilit y which are introduced by digital technologies in regards to industrial production. ADD VARIANCE introduces computational design methods, ranging from generative, animation-based tactics to algorithmic design and scripting through a series of workshops developed by international specialists. The workshops are intended as a supplementary addition to the academic curricula of the School of Engineering and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, with the intention of challenging the boundaries of each discipline through alternative creative processes. 2012 PROGRAM: ADD VARIANCE 1 ANIMATING FORM Instructor: STEVEN MA ADD VARIANCE 2






ADD VARIANCE 1 took place on May 7–11, 2012.


ADD VARIANCE 1: ANIMATING FORM The first session of the ADD VARIANCE program consisted of a digital workshop of advanced architectural design, which introduced participants to contemporary discussions of formal exploration in architecture, through the technical attainment of design production and animation. CONCEPT Can architecture contaminate animation? As two polarized practices complete with specific workflows collide, inevitably new techniques and concepts will emerge. Through the use of 3D modeling software, editing and special effects tutorials, the desire for this workshop was to innovate new processes and possibilities to create “Animated Form”. By introducing the skills required to animate and model in the way which more and more architecture and design is adopting first, and then transitioning into more classical notions of animation, it is possible to arrive at a new product - animated yet not quite animation; architectural yet not quite Architecture. The aim of this workshop was to push architectural animation past the typical “flat” realm of visualization and to produce a new category of formal expression. The workshop was a discourse based on the use of multi-layered techniques and production processes that allowed for control over intelligent geometries, calibration of parts, and behavioral taxonomies, normalizing an innovative field of predictability. Instructor: STEVEN MA Steven Ma is a design architect for Coop-himmelb(L)au in Vienna, specialized in digital visualizations, 3D management and productions. He is also assistant professor in the “Excessive” post-graduate program at the University for Applied Arts Vienna, Austria. He worked as a lead designer for Xefirotarch in Los Angeles from 2006-2008. Born in Hong Kong, he gained a master of architecture degree from Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in 2008, graduating with distinction, and he was awarded the AIA Henry Adams Medal and the Best Overall Graduated Thesis Award entitled “Xuberance: Liminal Form & Calligraphical Aesthetics”.


Xuberance by Steven Ma.



Animating Form workshop.



ADD THOUGHT The ADD THOUGHT public lecture series explores the state of production in the electro-material environment. The series is defined by select international practitioners and theorists who are invited to share their experience through cross-disciplinary practice between the fields of engineering, mathematics, art, architecture and design. 2011 / 2012 PROGRAM: ADD THOUGHT 1 CLEMENS WEISSHAAR Designer Kram/Weisshaar ADD THOUGHT 2 ULRIKA KARLSSON Architect, Designer Servo ADD THOUGHT 3 GREG LYNN Architect, Designer GLform ADD THOUGHT 4 ANDREW WITT Architect, Designer, Mathematician Director of Research, Gehry Technologies ADD THOUGHT 5 MICHAEL SPEAKS Researcher, Writer, Critic Dean of the College of Design, University of Kentucky ADD THOUGHT 6 KLAUS BOLLINGER Structural Engineer Bollinger-Grohmann Ingeneure ADD THOUGHT 7 DAVID ERDMAN Architect Studio Davidclovers ADD THOUGHT 8 HERNAN DIAZ ALONSO Architect XEFIROTARCH ADD THOUGHT 9 PETER TESTA /DEVYN WEISER Architects Studio TESTA/WEISER SCI-Arc Robotics & Simulation Lab ADD THOUGHT 10 ENRIC RUIZ GELI Architect, Scenographer Cloud 9 ADD THOUGHT 11 MARKUS MIESSEN Writer, Architect, Researcher Studio Miessen


ADD THOUGHT 5 – MICHAEL SPEAKS – New Values for New Design Driven by advances in building and information technology and accelerated by the tumultuous period of global economic restructuring that commenced in 2008, architecture practice is today confronted with the necessity of fundamental change. Indeed, all sectors of the A/E/C industry will face increasingly fierce competition that will, of necessity, force practices large and small to compete less on cost and more on value. In the very near future architecture will be valued almost entirely based on performance—economic, cultural, environmental—and only those firms able to create these and other forms of added value will survive. Disruptive technologies like building information modeling and integrated product delivery will enable all firms, even those competing solely on the basis of cost, to design better buildings and deliver them more efficiently. But in such a fiercely competitive global marketplace, efficiency alone will not be enough to guarantee market viability. The real differentiator will instead be design, for design not only adds economic value, it is also one of the most powerful engines of innovation and therefore among the most productive forces of economic value creation. One of the unexpected consequences of the 2008 economic downturn has been that the debate over the value of architecture and design is now focused less on style and the exquisite, designed object, and more on the economic and societal value added by design. And that is because almost everyone now acknowledges that we need new design values as much as – perhaps more than – we need new designs. The most promising development, in this regard, and one that affects architecture and design practice as well as design education, is the growing recognition that design is not only a product – a table, building, plan or landscape – but is also a creative process and a powerful engine of innovation. This new understanding of design helps us begin to see what new values of new design practice and education might look like. Cheap, fast and adaptable, so that hundreds of iterations can be designed, sorted, and discarded. Big, bold, and dumb, so that clients, stakeholders, even other designers, can engage in transparent, productive discussion that might lead to better problems and better solutions. And finally, apposite not perfect, so that if the design needs to adapt to changing conditions, it can do so with minimal effort and cost. If architecture, in particular, is to thrive during and after the current economic downturn, it will have to adapt to these and other values of the “good enough” revolution, where the quick and dirty have eclipsed the slow and polished and the cheap and simple have eclipsed the expensive and complicated. But if architecture, and more importantly, if architecture schools, are unwilling or unable to innovate, communicate, and adapt, they will soon be left behind, comforted only by the memories of those expensive, incomprehensible, perfectly designed things that not too long ago fascinated us all. ADD THOUGHT 5 took place on April 23, 2012



ADD THOUGHT 4 – ANDREW WITT – SuperNumeracy: The New (and Old) Mathematics of Design Combinatorial and algorithmic approaches to design have a history that predates contemporary digital and parametric tools. These approaches are intimately conditioned by architecture’s relationship with mathematics and machines, which has pervasively influenced progressive approaches to form-making. Today, advanced digital models allow the embedding of engineering and mathematical intelligence into reactive frameworks, encapsulating sophisticated knowledge transparently in the designer’s tools. At the same time, architecture is increasingly informed by mathematical methods and machine technologies of making, as designers themselves appropriate and invent architectural algorithms. Through both historical examples and contemporary projects, this lecture presented the sometimes unexpected, often complex, and always vital interrelationships between design, mathematics, and machines. ADD THOUGHT 4 took place on April 12, 2012


Left: Drawings executed by an analog computer, Desmond Paul Henry, 1962. Below: Mathematical ruled surface model, late 19th century.


EDITORIAL PROJECTS Editorial projects are put forward to create and take part in the discussion around contemporary design practice in the midst of digital fabrication technologies, robotics and new materialities.

Kontrollraum / Control Room, 2011, by Thomas Demand.


ADD METAPHYSICS – A publishing project for new design sensibilities The ADD METAPHYSICS publishing project builds on ADDLAB’s expertise in the fields of digital design, robotic fabrication and material technologies, while exploring the new roles and methods of designers in the increasingly flexible and complex electromaterial-cultural environment. ADD METAPHYSICS takes note from philosopher Manuel De Landa, who, in a 2011 lecture at the University of Southern California, suggested that while computers are valuable in exploring different spaces of possibility, designers must create the spaces worthy of exploration. Along these lines, the publishing project invites speculation into digital design beyond technology and form. Furthermore, it aims to facilitate new modes of material engagement and shift the focus of the field towards original sensibilities. With the first publication and website due in spring 2013, ADD METAPHYSICS will operate per semester. Borrowing from a schoolbook format, the forthcoming publications include contributions by select practitioners and academics who probe into the interrelations between information and material from their own idiosyncratic perspectives. The writers are requested to share their ideas in the form of experimental assignments, made to encourage activity and debate both within and outside of ADDLAB. Consider ADD METAPHYSICS as an open-ended curriculum taking place in the open site of the publication. Jenna Sutela – ADD METAPHYSICS Editor Florencia Colombo – ADD Art Direction + Cultural Projects Johanna Lundberg – ADD Visual Communications

Pages 70–71: Excerpts from conversations between Karl-Erik Michelsen and Yrjö Engeström with the editor for the first issue of ADDMETAPHYSICS, Semester I.



THE ART AND SCIENCE OF ENGINEERING In order to inform the ADD METAPHYSICS project, the Finnish social scientist Karl-Erik Michelsen was asked to shed light on the inconspicuous art and science of engineering. Michelsen believes that engineers should study philosophy. There is a general need, he says, for a better understanding of what technology is, how it impacts on society, how society influences technology, and of the idea of a technological culture. Michelsen has analyzed the relationship between national culture and the engineering profession, including the kind of power that engineers wield in society. Sometimes engineers exercise power without realizing it, and it is often not obvious. Finland’s engineers, for example, appear to be silent on the issue of politics. “It is simply assumed that even such a powerful phenomenon as technology can be an apolitical intervention,” Michelsen says. He claims that critical thinking does not form a part of the engineer’s professional conduct: “The solutions to problems are held always to be technological.” “Engineers seek the best possible solution,” Michelsen continues. “And that best possible solution also becomes the only option, which can’t be criticized afterwards. This is the technological fix. Once the problem has been mapped out, the task is to work out which technology will fix it. The technology that works can then be tinkered with endlessly. Any discussion about whether the original question was the right one, however, feels impossible – the technology and the solution are now one.” Karl-Erik Michelsen is a Professor of Business Economics and Law at the Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Director of the South Karelian Institute. His research focuses on technology as a social and cultural phenomenon, with a particular interest in the professional culture of engineers. Michelsen’s book, ‘Viides sääty: Insinöörit suomalaisessa yhteiskunnassa’ (Tekniikan akateemisten liitto & Suomen historiallinen yhdistys 1999) explores the social and political power of engineers and their reluctance to engage in public debate on technology or the consequences of technological change.


CO-CONFIGURATION FOR A NEW MATERIALITY Another lesson to learn from the study of technology and society was pointed out by professor Yrjö Engeström from the Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research at the University of Helsinki, who stressed how the material world is made up of not only particles but of relations, or the ceaseless exchange of information next to that of energy and things. Today, the digital and the material worlds appear to be merging. According to Engeström, the digital production of materiality remains, however, still largely at the level of visions. “The most interesting possibilities seem, for the time being, to lie in how the digital can be inserted into the already existing material world,” he says. Early examples that are already familiar include various positioning systems and ways of making objects traceable or identifiable online. Engeström sees these kinds of technologies as a basis for community-centred design – or co-configuration as he calls it. For him they are tools for producing plural realities or for understanding and developing different kinds of working cultures: “Whilst a new leading hybrid conceptualization of work is still emerging, I feel the most acute task is to examine how material activity itself might change. The concrete problems of real groups of people generate precisely the kind of basis on which the new materiality should be built.” Yrjö Engeström is a Professor of Adult Education and Director of the Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research at the University of Helsinki as well as a Professor of Communication at the University of California, San Diego. He works within the framework of cultural-historical activity theory. Currently, Engeström focuses especially on co-configuration as a new way of organizing work as well as expansive learning in multi-activity settings.


ADD ARCHIVE – A collection of thoughts on the digital context By means of the interview method, implemented systematically within this program as research-knowledge production, ADD seeks to collect testimonies on the experimental past and contemporary production of the electro-material context. This collection builds on ADD’s cross-disciplinary program, with the objective of developing an archive of interviews which addresses the diverging trajectories of contemporary discourse on digital design methodologies, new material technologies and production processes and its relevant implications within the industrial, cultural and societal contexts. The interviews are created around a systematic pattern of questions which contemplates the complex and variable parameters of contemporary practice.

Pages 72–73: Space Simulator, 2003, by Thomas Demand. Left: Archiv / Archive, 1995, by Thomas Demand.


ADD ARCHIVE – ANDREW WITT WHAT DOES A DIGITAL PARADIGM REPRESENT FOR YOU IN THE CONTEXT OF CONTEMPORARY DESIGN AND CULTURAL PRACTICE? (...) “I think ‘digital design’ is really just an extension of techniques, methodologies and approaches to form that have emerged from the current computational condition – over the past 30 years or so. However, the paradigm builds on a conceptual approach that is hundreds of years old and embedded in the very nature of design itself: the analytical way in which it approaches formal problems. I believe one of the keys to producing new design knowledge is in realizing that the technical culture of design has, in fact, a distinct epistemological history, and that in order to really embrace the possibilities of contemporary techniques we also need to know the past of those techniques. What I find, perhaps, the most urgent topic to tackle in relation to the digital paradigm in design is the reconfiguration of work. When computers have the capacity to accelerate processes, or to replace some of the most labor-intensive activities, what we should be looking at are the kinds of productions that have traditionally been problematic or challenging because of the amount of labor that they would have required before. All in all, the biggest changes brought about by the digitization of design are actually organizational ones and design practice should adapt to this condition.” (...) ADD THOUGHT 4 took place on April 12, 2012 Andrew Witt is Director of Research at Gehry Technologies (GT). Currently based in Los Angeles, California, Witt was previously a director at GT’s Paris, France office, where he consulted on parametric design, geometric approaches, new technologies, and integrated practice for clients including Gehry Partners, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, UNStudio, and Coop Himmelb(l)au. Trained as both an architect and mathematician, Witt has a particular interest in a technically synthetic and logically rigorous approach to form. He has taught courses on digital design at Harvard, Ecole Speciale d’Architecture, and SCI-Arc, and has lectured at MIT, ETH, EPFL, and Angewandte, among other schools.




ADD ARCHIVE – MICHAEL SPEAKS DO YOU THINK THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN MODES OF EXPRESSION INVOLVED IN ‘DIGITAL DESIGN’? (...) “For me, digital design doesn’t come in any particular shape, form, or language. In fact, I consider such an idea extremely problematic and like to talk about digital thinking instead. In my view, the specialty of the field lies in parametric thought and prototype thinking – and these don’t look like anything. Rather, they can produce results ranging from orthogonal to biomorphic to unimaginable forms. If we look at what happened in, for example, American schools in the early 1990s, we can see the growing use of software and the emergence of paperless studios. What is particularly interesting about this period is that when all these digital technologies arrived, students stopped working with physical, three-dimensional models. So, this naturally created some difficulties in the relationship between thinking and action. However, ever since 3D printers and CNC cutters have started to appear in schools, a new connection between thought and action seems to have become possible again. Still, I’m not convinced that many teachers, so far, have learned to use the digital fabrication equipment for anything else except completing processes. The real challenge when it comes to developing new modes of designing lies in how to use these tools for digital thinking instead of just producing products that are digitally designed.” (...) ADD THOUGHT 5 took place on April 23, 2012 Michael Speaks, Ph.D., is Dean of the College of Design and Professor of Architecture at the University of Kentucky. Former Director of the Graduate Program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles, Speaks has also taught in the graphic design department at the Yale School of Art, and in the architecture schools at Harvard University, Columbia University, The University of Michigan, UCLA, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and the Berlage Institute and TU Delft in the Netherlands. Speaks has published and lectured internationally on contemporary art, architecture, urban design, and scenario planning.



ADD ARCHIVE – PETER TESTA AND DEVYN WEISER WHAT DOES A DIGITAL PARADIGM REPRESENT IN THE CONTEXT OF CONTEMPORARY DESIGN AND CULTURAL PRACTICE? (...) “The digital paradigm is shifting from the flat Euclidean space of computer modeling tools to a post-medium condition characterized by the layering of processes and technologies. In our work beginning with the Emergent Design Group at MIT, we have continuously created new interfaces including software and hardware as part of the design environment and in relation to aesthetic interests and design goals. This platform at the convergence of computation, computational materials, and synchronous robotics breaks down outmoded distinctions between digital and analog or virtual and real. Machines (including computers and robots) often take us by surprise as we cannot predict or foresee what is going to happen in the actual event. Even though the elements are fully constructed, the system actualizes virtualities that overcome or override initial expectations. This condition is connected to the earlier point that today the more processes and transformations there are the better, as we cannot fully calculate or predict outcomes and this makes working with machines and matter part of a creative and collaborative enterprise. Contrary to popular assumptions and preconceptions about computers, the inputs do not strictly define the outputs as the objects we work with hold more secrets than one can imagine. This metaphysical perspective is particularly poignant when working in environments where code, matter, motion, and geometry are negotiating, producing, and capturing images in real time.” (...) ADD THOUGHT 9 took place on October 11, 2012 TESTA/WEISER is a Los Angeles based studio that invents, designs and prototypes innovative architecture, products, and systems for a diverse client roster that includes some of the world’s most innovative companies. Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser are partners in charge of design at Testa/Weiser Inc. and founding members of the MIT Emergent Design Group EDG). In 2012, they have initiated within SCI-Arc the Robotics and Simulation Lab with Stäubli Robotics.

Painting with robots at the SCI-Arc Robotic House.


ADD SUPPORTED COURSES AND EVENTS The ADD SUPPORTED program consists of events and projects which relate to existing Aalto University structures and which enter in dialogue with the mission and objectives of ADD. These events and projects are held at ADDLAB and coordinated by means of a collaborative process aimed at the further intertwining of the subject of digital design and fabrication technologies with the various academic fields within the university. ADD SUPPORTED EVENTS: – – – – – –

Aalto Symposium: Soundings for Architecture KTH – Konstfack – Aalto Konergia Festival WDC Helsinki Open Doors Weekend The Mechatronics Circus The Dean’s Donors Event


Critical Studio Future Foundries Workshop Urban Systems: Smart City and Human Centered Design A dditive Manufacturing Workshop Insco Project Bit Research Center




LOCAL COMMUNITY AND INTERNATIONAL NETWORK ADD itself is a prototype of the new Aalto University environment, functioning as a hub of activity that fosters social interaction and cultural inspiration. ADD aims to provide a valuable forum for scientists, engineers, designers, and architects as well as institutional and corporate partners which facilitates cross-disciplinary exchange and networking. During its first year, ADD has also developed an extensive global network through its international public program, exchange students and researchers in developing academic and corporate collaborations.




ADD ORGANIZATION KIVI SOTAMAA – Director Kivi Sotamaa is principal of Sotamaa Design, an award-winning design studio based in Helsinki. He is an Associate Professor at UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Previously he held positions at the Ohio State University and the Universität für Angewandte Kunst, Institut für Architektur in Vienna. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki [UIAH] and in addition has studied at Helsinki University of Technology and the Royal College of Art in London. FLORENCIA COLOMBO – Art Direction + Cultural Projects Florencia Colombo works within the field of contemporary art. Through her professional practice she has collaborated with international artists and designers developing cultural projects within a cross-disciplinary platform. From 2004 to 2010, she worked with German artist Tobias Rehberger on an extensive portfolio of architectural projects focused on the concept of sculptural space. She holds degrees in architecture and the visual arts from the University of Buenos Aires, and Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Frankfurt, Germany. JENNA SUTELA – Editorial Projects Jenna Sutela is a writer and curator working in the fields of design and art with a special interest in digital media. At ADDLAB, she is currently editor of the ADD METAPHYSICS publishing program. Her background includes a master’s degree in media and design research from the Media Lab at the University of Art and Design Helsinki as well as the founding of a critical design/art practice OK Do with projects ranging from publications to installations. WYCLIFFE RADUMA – Research + Education Development Wycliffe Raduma is a graduate from Aalto University’s School of Engineering with a master’s degree in engineering education. From 2006 to 2011 he collaborated in the development of the Aalto University Design Factory. In this context, he has created and coordinated the Product Development Project, a student program focused on collaborative corporate-academic research elaborated through industrial design product development. ASHISH MOHITE – Design Research Ashish Mohite is an architect with extensive experience in projects ranging from product design to urban planning. He has worked with various international offices in projects with a research focus in digital design. His study background includes a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Mumbai , India, and a master of arts degree in advanced architecture design from Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Frankfurt. EMMY MARUTA – Design Research Emmy Maruta is a graduate from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCIArc) with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. She has worked with various awardwinning Los Angeles based architecture offices in the development of projects ranging from residential to urban designs. JOHANNA LUNDBERG – Visual Communications Johanna Lundberg is a graphic designer for print and digital, working on a variety of projects from books and magazines to identities and websites. With a background in international collaborations and commissions, Johanna co-founded the award-winning creative studio Åh in 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. HEIKKI SJÖMAN – Infrastructure Development Heikki Sjöman is a graduate from Aalto University’s School of Engineering. He is currently working towards a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and business management. SERGEI CHEKUROV – Technical Development Sergei Chekurov is a graduate from Aalto University’s School of Engineering. He is currently completing a master’s degree in production technology and industrial management, with a professional focus on additive manufacturing technologies. MENG WANG – Technical Design Meng Wang holds a B.E. in industrial design from Xidian University, China, as well as a M.Sc. in human ecology from Vrije Universiteit, Belgium, and a M.Sc. in renewable energy from Jyväskylä University, Finland. In his professional practice he has been engaged with various international projects and businesses regarding product design, research and sourcing. JUKKA HELLE – Software + Programming Jukka Helle has a background as a professional software engineer with experience in projects utilizing GIS and mobile connectivity. He has collaborated in establishing the Aalto Fablab at the Aalto Media Factory as the Electronics Studio Master. He is also studying automation and systems technology in Aalto University’s School of Electrical Engineering. EETU KEJONEN – Logistics Eetu Kejonen is a graduate from Aalto University’s School of Engineering. He is currently completing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on product development and foundry technologies.


ADD LEADERSHIP Academic Board of Directors: Petri Varsta – Chairman – Dean, School of Engineering Soile Koukkari – Secretary – Administrative Manager, School of Engineering Board members: Antti Ahlava – Head of Department, Architecture Matti Juhala – Head of Department, Mechanical Engineering Gary Marquis – Professor, Mechanics of Materials Eero Miettinen – Professor, Industrial Design Jouko Pakanen – Professor, Building Services Technology Preparation and agenda: Kivi Sotamaa – Director Academic Advisory Commitee: Juhani Orkas – Professor, Foundry Technology Pekka Mård – Controller, School of Engineering Hannu Hirsi – Laboratory Manager, Building Services Technology

Pages 92–95: Melting Point Toyota series by Stéphane Couturier.




STÉPHANE COUTURIER Stéphane Couturier, born 1957, lives and works in Paris. The project Melting Point is a series of large-scale time-exposure photographs depicting a high-tech Toyota assembly plant in Valenciennes, France. In the project, Couturier is documenting the perpetual movement of industry – rationalized, disembodied, automated and more and more subject to the silent logic of profit. Using a largeformat camera, he delineates both disorder and harmony from the highly abstract photographs, capturing layers of machines, car parts, workers and equipment in a visually complex manner. At once wildly energetic and industrial in feel, the images utilize a hyperbolic palette that further injects a unique vitality to the turbulent series. Couturier’s photographs are in major museum collections, including Centre Georges Pompidou, Los Angeles County Museum, National Gallery of Canada, Grand-Duc Jean Museum in Luxembourg and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The ADD ABSTRACT 2012 has been developed by:

THOMAS DEMAND Thomas Demand, born 1964, lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles. Demand describes himself not as a photographer, but as a conceptual artist for whom photography is an intrinsic part of his creative process. He often culls his subjects from reports in the mass media, using them as the starting point to create expansive sculptures out of paper and cardboard which transpose the two-dimensional original into three-dimensional form. Demand then photographs these spatial (re)constructions made out of paper with a large-format camera, before ultimately destroying them. Direct human activity, finer details and figures captured on film are not transferred from the original photographs into the life-size sculptures. What remains are phantom images of ‘crime scenes’ of missing events which often appear just as familiar to us as they are impalpable. Demand’s work is in numerous collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the Tate Collection, London.

Florencia Colombo – ADD Art Direction + Cultural Projects Johanna Lundberg – ADD Visual Communications …together with the contribution of ADDLAB’s organization and guests Proofreading by Gareth Griffiths Printed by Lönnberg Painot Oy, Finland © 2012 ADD All rights reserved

CONTACT Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory P.O. BOX 14400 Sähkömiehentie 4G, Espoo FI–00076 Aalto Finland

IMAGE CREDITS Pages 04–07: Courtesy of Stéphane Couturier Pages 16–17: Courtesy of TESTA/WEISER Page 55: Courtesy of Steven Ma Page 66: Kontrollraum / Control Room, 2011, C-Print / Diasec, 200 x 300 cm © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / KUVASTO ry, Helsinki Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin Pages 72–73: Space Simulator, 2003, C-Print/ Diasec, 300 x 429,4 cm © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / KUVASTO ry, Helsinki Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin Page 74: Archiv / Archive, 1995, C-Print/ Diasec, 183,5 x 233 cm © Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / KUVASTO ry, Helsinki Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin Pages 80–81: Courtesy of TESTA/WEISER Pages 92–95: Courtesy of Stéphane Couturier


Aalto Universit y Digital Design Laborator y (ADD) is a research organizat ion jointly initiated by t he universi t y’s School of Engineering and the School of Art s, Design and Architecture. ADD explores the potential of digital design and manufacturing technologies for changing our material environment by forming multidisciplinar y, design-dr i ven research and development project s toget her wit h Aalto Universit y’s researchers and the indust r y. This project -dri ven, applied research activit y is suppor ted by lectures and courses, as well as a state of the ar t technical infrastructure for digital design and manufacturing.


Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory (ADD) report 2011/2012


Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory (ADD) report 2011/2012