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Imagine, research and create Explore the potential of digital design Collaborate across disciplines Engage complex systems Foster practices of the future Discuss, experiment and discover



Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory

This publication focuses on ADD, Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory. It introduces ADD to the uninitiated, and it also summarizes what ADD has researched, been involved in and made happen since 2012. The publication of ADD SUMMARY 2013 coincides with the 3D Pop Up Factory organized in connection with the Helsinki Design Week.

ADD SUMMARY 2013 has been divided into three main sections that reflect the main categories of ADD’s operations. 3 THIS IS ADD 4 DESIGN RESEARCH 19 WHAT’S MORE 23 DISCOURSE 32 EDUCATION


ADD, Aalto Universit y Digital Design Laboratory, is a research organization initiated by Aalto University’s School of Engineering and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture in 2012. ADD explores the potential of digital design and manufacturing technologies to create commercially viable, culturally relevant and societally valuable results. Through design driven research & development, open collaboration, vital experimentation, and its multidisciplinary nature, ADD utilizes the potential of today’s digital technologies to discover what is possible. It is a platform for exploration, creativity, provocation and risk-taking, where students and researchers foster future practices in design as well as architecture, art, education and business. ADD facilitates and takes part in interdisciplinary dialogue, aims to impact through thought, research and production, and actively collaborates with other departments within the university as well as with other industries, companies, researchers and experts.

Aalto University is a future-oriented multi-disciplinary institution intent on exploring the potential of new technologies and methodologies in and across the fields of architecture, art, design, economics and engineering. ADD expands the

possibilities of the Aalto University’s existing programs and it prototypes new organizational and operational models as well as new physical and digital environments for learning and research.



The Design Research program tests the possibilities of digital technology in practice. Research and development work is executed in collaboration with different industries as well as research facilities within the Aalto University.


Herein we present projects involving ADD that introduce the scope of how digital design, fabrication and material technologies are changing the world we work in.




Digital design, robotic fabrication and material technologies are contributing to a paradigm shift in the physical world of our built environment. They enable a shift from serial reproduction to serial permutation, from copies to iterations, and digital technologies are increasingly introducing variance, mutation and flexibility into industrial mass production. The various projects ADD is working and collaborating on explore this shift and the opportunities it brings. There is a broad variety of projects to chart the full scope and potential of what is possible with today’s technology and to discover the best practices of tomorrow. The projects range from exploring the future of architecture and high-rise design to testing the possibilities of customized consumer products and experimenting with different materials and 3D printing methods to find the best manufacturing solution for e.g. a table-leg. This is not the future – this is today. And today we make the necessary experiments to fulfill the future’s potential.


The designer-to-consumer business model is rising in prominence in industrial design, challenging business-tobusiness and designer-to-business models. Designers have become their own manufacturers, creating something analogous to the independent record label in the music industry. Convolute is ADD’s case study of the business model, executed through the design of a lamp that allows ample variation to lead to insightful comparisons. The first phase of the project was a technical study exploring the paradigms of two 3D printing machines with their own identities: 3D Touch by Bits from Bites and Uprint by Stratasys. Over 20 different iterations were designed and printed using a catalogue of polymers with each lamp having its own characteristics. The goal was to produce a high-designed, est hetically dynamic, one-off product. Here are two iterations that were among the most interesting. Convolute: Black Tulip Black Tulip is a vase designed in Autodesk Maya with dynamic animation tools creating a look of movement. The finish material was Black PLA that is well-suited for a consumer product. Convolute: Flicker Flicker shows how 3D printing allows variation with ease. A custom LED-fitting was designed inside the lamp. The installation consists of five lamps with a driver controlling the fades of the lamps to create a fluid, repeated pattern to highlight the uniqueness and complexity of the form. The installation was printed with the Uprint and designed in Autodesk Maya with the dynamic animated sequence emphasizing movement between the lamps, also supported by the lamp’s geometry. ADD team: Kivi Sotamaa, Director Emmy Maruta, Design Research Jukka Helle, Software + Programming

Previous page: Epigenetic Patterns tested three different printing technologies, more on page 10. Right: Black Tulip, a vase. Following page: Flicker, a lamp series.







Epigenetic Patterns explores the possibilities of combining different printing technologies to design a product with imbedded intelligence and function.

The design and manufacturing of a customizable table based on a complex space frame involved combining 3D printing technology and casting to produce unique aluminum alloy joints.

Additive manufacturing has the ability to layer itself with a multitude of different technologies – one mode of developing an intelligent product is to imbed the technology onto the surface. In this project, developed in close collaboration with VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland), ADD was presented with three different printing technologies that vary in industrial application and testing. The first was a plasma gun attached to the end of a robotic arm that prints conductive material – in this case copper. The second, a smaller and more precise printing technology, uses a syringe printhead at the end of a robotic arm to apply insulating or silver material. The third is the most industrial, a UV ink-jet printing tool at the end of a robotic arm. A catalogue of substrate materials was developed to test possible and viable application technologies – the materials tested were laser-sintered nylon, alumide, gypsum based powder, abs, paper and ceramic. Each surface had its own distinct “pattern” generated from an agent-based script. The variability of the patterns coupled with the material quickly revealed the limitation of each technology when honing the tool path. The second phase of the project is in process.

In the Turning a Corner project 36 tables were fabricated with custom-casted joints, standard aluminum tubes, and a customized glass surface. As an alternative to casting the table joint prototypes, milling (subtractive process) and forging (shaping metal) were tested. To ensure that prototyping and getting from plan to product was fast, casting and 3D printing were chosen. Over 300 joints were produced for the two different table designs each consisting of 8 angles and over 300 individual pieces. The tables were used to display Finnish design at the Design Colors Life exhibition at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art in October 2012. Project collaborators: Department of Engineering Design and Production Aalto School of Engineering Juhani Orkas, Professor Sotamaa Tuuli Sotamaa, Partner ADD team: Kivi Sotamaa, Director Ashish Mohite, Design Research Eetu Kejonen, Technical Design Meng Wang, Technical Design

Project collaborators: Kokkugia Roland Snooks, Partner VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Pasi Puukko, Senior Research Scientist Robert Roozeman, Research Scientist Jorma Koskinen, Research Scientist Alejandro Revuelta, Research Scientist ADD team: Kivi Sotamaa, Director Emmy Maruta, Design Research



Turning a Corner Top left: Angles were 3D printed using Selective Laser Syntering (SLS) technology. Top right: Assembling the table. Below: Casting the joints.



The lack of cost-efficient manufacturing techniques has been an obstacle for avant-garde architecture. Digital design and production is changing that, and increasing the potential to realize more avant-garde architectural designs for today’s needs.

Architecture benefits from the paradigm shift that digital design is enabling. Responsive and intelligent materials and design make architecture more complex, unique and user-friendly. A new, ecological era of architecture is being ushered in.

Responsive Skin is the second phase of a façade project developed at UCLA and currently sited at Aalto University. The three-year research and development project explores how the environment impacts a façade, and how it could be made responsive. The façade structure is broken down into individual elements and each element is a part of the larger skin system, reacting to environmental factors such as sunlight, wind, temperature etc. Each of the structural elements can be controlled, so when it reacts to the environment it informs a simulation program that modifies the surface. Building façades and other cladded structures can be optimized ecologically, structurally and for diversity by combining simulation technology, algorithmic design technology, parametric computer models, and digital manufacturing technologies.

One example of this is Soft Tower, an R&D venture ADD is involved in that explores the digital possibilities for highrise architecture. Skyscrapers are often restricted to repetition, forcing a monotonous esthetic. With digital design and fabrication the positive potential of high-rise living can be tapped into, creating an exciting, experiential and ecological high-rise – a “soft tower”. Form, program, pattern, color and ornament work in unison to create new sustainable sensations. In the metropolises of today, sustainability requires dense and optimized urban living, which is exactly what high-rises offer through inter-linking technological solutions. Advanced elevator systems and climatically responsive architectural solutions realize ecological ideals throughout a high-rises’s life-cycle. The flexibility and plurality offered by the Soft Tower makes it adaptable to fluctuating trends in housing, service and office preferences.

The concept and design work was done in close collaboration with UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Stuttgart, and the Fraunhofer IPA in Germany.

Project collaborators: UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Design, UCLA Technology Seminar Sotamaa: Students: Cody Cambell Alejandro Averado Tara Bauer Gabriel Huerta Bian Cadiz Tim Callan Joseph Matias David Molinaro

Project collaborators: Department of Material Science and Engineering Aalto School of Chemical Technology Seppo Kivivuori, Professor UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Design, UCLA Technology Seminar Sotamaa: Students: Wael Batal Cheng Ha Chris Harris Brian James Cadiz Gabriel Huerta Joseph Mathias

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Architecture Tutors: Trevor Harris Antti Ahlava Tommy Lindgren Laura Delaney-Ruskeapää Esa Laaksonen Veikko Mäkipaja Students: Leonard Ma Alexander Adkins Anna-Riitta Kujala Mikko Suhonen Marius Savickas

ADD team: Kivi Sotamaa, Director Ashish Mohite, Design Research

Responsive Skin Top: Robot-based incremental sheet forming at the Aalto material science lab. Below: Rendering of layered panels.

ADD team: Kivi Sotamaa, Director Heikki Sjöman, Infrastructure Development



Soft Tower Top: Metamorphose. Cody Campbell, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Student. Right: Parasitic Aggregation. Gabriel Huerta, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Student.




let the motorcyclist feel more at one with the bike without losing grip or protection.


Performance driven methodologies to reach an optimal material solution – or rebranding material structures for higher performance – are considered extremely attractive for additive manufacturing, because they enable the optimization of product geometry, materials and their internal structures.

The glove was created at Solid Concepts Inc. using a process called Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), which allows for a high level of control as well as detail within the desired design. In this case, the customer would have their hand scanned, or create a digital model in which a unique glove can be printed. To ensure personalization, the customer would be involved throughout the design process. A high level of customization once reserved for the most elite now easily accessible for any passionate rider. Project Collaborators: UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Design, UCLA Technology Seminar Sotamaa: Brian Barnes Jacob Bloom Derek Buell James Currie Timothy Harmon Ryan L Hong Hongkai Li Steven Matti Roshanak Mostaghim Peter Nguyen Tas Febres-Cordero Andrew Raffel Adam Rude Nicholas Solakian Marie Trabold Zhuoran Xu

ADD is pursuing an industrial application for cases that require high structural performance. The beginning strategies for the project are complex and structurally dynamic examples from nature. The experiment tests the limits of a variety of additive manufacturing techniques. Nanoshell: Cavity Skateboards Customers can customize their own 3D printed skateboard to order through a digital interface with variables including size and shape. New styles of skating are constantly causing diversions, making variety characteristic to the skateboarding market. The boom in small plastic cruiser decks, most famously manufactured by Penny Australia, is a recent example. Cavity Skateboards pushes the medium to a more refined product using 3D printing technology.

Department of Applied Physics Aalto School of Science Olli Ikkala, Academic Professor Henrikki Mertaniemi, Researcher

The intricate mineral skeletons of Radiolaria served as performative and geometric inspiration throughout the development of this project. Their thin strained-like skeletons are structurally strong and durable yet also extremely lightweight. Emulating key aspects of this geometry serves the purpose for the structural and esthetic value of the skateboard, but it also takes full advantage of the additive manufacturing process. Traditional manufacturing would not be able to achieve the intricacy and complexity of the board’s design. It is a unique skateboard.

ADD team: Kivi Sotamaa, Director Ashish Mohite, Design Research Emmy Maruta, Design Research

Nanoshell: Emoto Glove The market for motorcycle gloves is limited, so someone looking for a personalized high performance Moto GP glove finds their choices restricted to different colors.

Right: Emoto is a fully customizable motorcycle glove.

Flexibility, performance and protection have been maximized with attention to detail and design. Where the rider is the most exposed, the glove’s design creates the greatest distance between skin and asphalt to minimize risk in case of crash. Individual joints allow for the maximum range of motion required for steering flexibility. The aim has also been to



Small plastic cruiser decks influenced the design of Cavity Skateboards, which pushes the medium to a more ref ined product with 3D printing technology.





“Digital design is actually built on a conceptual approach that’s probably hundreds of years old and embedded in nature, the nature of design itself and the way it approaches formal problems analytically.” –Andrew Witt in the ADD ARCHIVE, where ADD collects testimonies on past and present work in the electro-material environment. http://addlab.aalto.fi/discourse/add-archive

Design More, used 3D printing technology to create an outsourcing service for jewelry designers, which lets the designer focus on design and marketing, while the service takes care of the rest.

COLLABORATORS Jouni Partanen, professor for the School of Engineering and director of BIT Research Centre, works in close collaboration with ADD. BIT is a research group situated in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management. Their focus is in the area of new business and technology. DD Shape, the most recent collaboration, is an example of how a multidisciplinary strategy can benefit a project. BIT engineers have developed the hardware and software and ADD imagines applications and digital design procedures that align with the technology.

AALTOES HACKATHON In collaboration with Aaltoes, ADD organized a weekend long 3D printing hackathon. After working with 3D design tools, printing prototypes, and discussing business models, the hackathon closed with a presentation of projects to a jury consisting of ADD director Kivi Sotamaa, designer Pekka Salokannel and Plastex CEO Lauri Ant-Wuorinen. The winner, Do Less –


ADD FOR KIDS! ADD participated in a one-day Mehackit workshop, where children had a chance to explore 3D-modeling by making 3D models out of laser-cut paper and then coloring them. The kids also got to know robotics, play guitar and learn coding. More info at http://mehackit.org


EURONANOFORUM Nanoshell was presented at EuroNanoForum 2013 in Dublin, Ireland. EuroNanoForum is a nanotechnology conference that presents key elements for an integrated and responsible approach and a common strategy for the future of nanotechnology research. Projects presented covered the areas of industrial technologies, life sciences, environment, energy and transport.

BIOFILIA BREAKFAST The mimicking of nature is a constant source of inspiration for researchers, artists and designers. How do we learn from natural materials and systems? ADD FORUM 3: Biofilia Breakfast gathered professors, researchers and artists with nature as their work’s reference point to discuss this. Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts from SymbioticA presented their Pig Wings and Victimless Leather projects, while academic professor Olli Ikkala from the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University presented his work on developing mother of pearl material. Master of Science Jyrki Korpela and Dr. Harri Korhonen discussed their work, which involves developing their own biodegradable materials with standard 3D printers.

MACHINE ROOM ADD houses low to high-end machines in the Machine Room. They are used to produce experimentation, prototypes and production at ADD. It supports various academic projects, including ADD research and technical workshops within Aalto. The machines included in ADD’s Machine Room are 3D printers that use plastics, stock A4 paper, and powdered gypsum. ADD looks forward to welcoming a Stäubli robot Fall 2013.

LIBRARY MEETS HISTORY Open to the public and visible from the ADD CAFE, ADD’s Library has a variety of books based on architecture, design, art and fashion. The library wall is lined with an informative and interactive installation featuring each lecturer, workshop and project documented on an A5 card with a photo and printed description of work, practice, and strategy. The wall works as a visual history of the lecturers and workshops ADD has hosted.

AALTONAUT COURSE Beginnings of Digital Design and Fabrication, ADD’s Aaltonaut course, introduces students to the possibilities offered by new design and fabrication technologies. It incorporates computational design and fabrication within contemporary creative practices, giving an introduction to new design, production and distribution models. It is a five credit course that consists of two weekly sessions at ADD, approximately four hours each. The pilot course begins in fall 2013 and the course at ADD will start in the spring semester 2014.

SAMSUNG R&D CENTER OPENING ADD and its Director Kivi Sotamaa gave a presentation about how design manufacturing, art and (good) life are intertwined at the opening of the Samsung R&D Centre on June 13, 2013. The audience included 100 of the most influential people from politics, academia, media and the economy in Finland. CUSTOMIZE YOUR LAMP Engage was designed to research how 3D printing technology can be a viable business model in the serial production of a commercial product. Online customers can customize their lamp – installation position, height, top radius, middle radius location and base width are all modifiable. Updating these variables influences the price as well as the product image, updated in real-time on-screen. Once customers have finalized the design, they send the file and can expect a lamp in 2–3 weeks. http://addlab.fi/engage/



3D POP-UP FACTORY ADD participates in the Helsinki Design Week 2013 by building a 3D lab in collaboration with HDW and sponsored by Audi. The lab presents a design-to-production environment to the general public, letting them experience the possibilities. Everyone gets to be a designer and fulfill their dreams. There are special events for children, seminars and workshops. The 3D Pop-Up Factory is at the Old Customs Warehouse in Helsinki from August 22 to September 22, 2013.

ERRATIC INSTALLATION Norell/Rodhe’s installation project Erratic challenges the level of control attainable in digital design and fabrication by targeting materials that behave erratically. In a time where anything can be precisely reproduced digitally, Erratic charts architectural opportunities that arise in the glitch between geometrical information and architectural object. The installation, situated in ADD CAFE’s double height space, takes its cues from the intimidating massing of an erratic block. Erratic is hosted by ADD and supported by The Architecture in the Making research environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Architecture, Gothenburg and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Architecture, Stockholm. www.norellrodhe.se www.architectureinthemaking.se

BIOMIMIC DESIGN COURSE Aalto University’s Department of Architecture is arranging an introductory course in biomimic design for Fall 2013. The course will display viewpoints and approaches to biomimic design from landscape architecture to architectural technology. The course is open to all masters level students within Aalto University. The interdisciplinary course combines technological methods and structure knowhow, architecture, environmental design and art. After the course the student has an understanding of biomimicry, and can use methodologies for biomimic design. ADD’s role is to bridge the skills taught in the course to real world applications and develop the concepts, workflows and methodologies. COPYING AS A MEDIA FORM A celebration of the ADD METAPHYSICS publication’s launch took place at Design Museum Helsinki on Thursday 14 March, 2013. The program of the evening explored copying and biomimicry in design, artistic practice, and material science. There were also presentations from architect Ines Weizman (London Metropolitan University) and material scientist Olli Ikkala (Department of Applied Physics, Aalto University), as well as a screening of Harun Farocki’s video work ‘Parallel’ (2012).

COFFEE AT ADD For a guaranteed cup of quality coffee on the Aalto campus, there is now the ADD CAFE – located at ADD. Besides the coffee, ADD CAFE is also a perfect meeting spot for students, professors and visitors – so the café too follows ADD’s interdisciplinary ideals. A joint project with the Aalto University Student Union, Aalto University students make up the full team of baristas. The coffee is roasted by Helsingin Kahvipaahtimo, considered one of the best roasters in Helsinki. ADD CAFE is open from September to June 8am–6pm.

FINANCIAL TIMES To explore how artists can utilize the potential of digitally designed objects to reach greater complexity than handcrafted objects, ADD collaborated in an art installation by the artist collective Brussels Pulp and the Aalto University Department of Art. The work “European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs and the euro” consisted of three 30cm digital sculptures of its namesake in different poses, and was exhibited in the FINANCIAL TIMES exhibition at the Mustarinda House. Technical expertise, planning, and execution support came from ADD. The exhibition opened on June 12, 2013 in Hyrynsalmi, Finland.

“The sort of coolness and hipness of design has diminished, but you actually begin to make real products. We are not so much in dialogue as trying to move the discussion forward to make real things that intervene in the marketplace, and also give people opportunities.” –Michael Speaks in the ADD ARCHIVE, where ADD collects testimonies on past and present work in the electro-material environment. http://addlab.aalto.fi/discourse/add-archive



“Each of us needs to ask the question from ourselves: do you do what you do because you do it with computers, or you do you use computers, because you need to do certain things?” –Hernan Diaz Alonso in the ADD ARCHIVE, where ADD collects testimonies on past and present work in the electro-material environment. http://addlab.aalto.fi/discourse/add-archive

ARCHITECTURE ESTONIA BIENNALE In a project by Kivi Sotamaa and supported by ADD, digital design methodology and novel ways of dealing with historical buildings will be explored. The project takes part in the Curator’s Exhibition of the Architecture Estonia Biennale starting September 6, 2013.

RUMBLE 2013 UCLA Architecture and Urban Design’s end of the year all-school exposition engages students, faculty and the international design community in a discourse on the forefront of contemporary design and innovation. Among the projects displayed were designs from Kivi Sotamaa’s ADD Opportunity, technology seminar.

BIO BOX COLLABORATOR ADD was delivered the first group of materials to test for Bio Box, a collaboration with VTT Technical Research Center of Finland. VTT is the biggest multi-technological applied research organization in Northern Europe. VTT focuses on research activities that forecast future technologies and market developing trends, creating novel know-how, providing customers with new development impulses, developing technologies and concepts, applying technologies and enhancing technology transfer and utilization.

MOTHER OF PEARL WORKSHOP A special material was produced and featured on the cover of the ADD METAPHYSICS publication. The mimetic nacre was created in collaboration with the Molecular Materials group at the Department of Applied Physics. André Gröschel, Juhana Sorvari and Maria Morits made the material at ADD. The strong yet lightweight material is a combination of polymer polyvinylalcohol (PVA) and nanoclay (Cloisite®) born from research around the microscale structures of nature’s mother of pearl, which lines the pearl oyster, freshwater pearl mussels, and abalone shell.

COLLABORATORS Academy Professor Olli Ikkala recently received EU funding for his work at Aalto University. ADD has been fortunate enough to collaborate with Olli and his research team on several projects including Nanoshell and the Mother of Pearl workshop. Ikkala’s group focuses on the self-assembled strong and light nanocomposite structures found in nature, such as the nacreous mater underneath seashells and biological fibres resembling silk and nanocellulose. This collaboration is important to ADD because it allows a dialogue between the development of the material and design processes.

COLLABORATORS Sergei Chekurov, BIT researcher and previously employed by ADD, has focused his research on non-assembly parts. This study looks at what the limit of each machine are and how functional parts can be preassembled in the machine. Machines included, FDM (uPRINT), SLS, and Polyjet technology (Objet).

SPASMS, CONVULUSIONS, ERUPTIONS ADD Director Kivi Sotamaa held a public lecture titled “Spasms, Convulusions, Eruptions. Design in a World that Moves” in Tallinn at the Estonian Academy of Arts. The lecture discussed the formal, the fluid, less bounded, organic vocabulary which his work reflects. It was held on February 7th, 2013.



LEARNING AT ADD The ADD HUB uses the ADD CAFE as a space to sit down, and chat with professors and students. The vision of ADD HUB is to create a learning center utilizing Aalto’s interdisciplinary co-creation potential with the intention to learn and communicate in an innovative Aalto way.

SOFT TOWER CAMPAIGN ADD is involved in an R&D venture called Soft Tower, which explores the digital possibilities of high-rise architecture. In the first phase of the project, four billboards were installed as a citywide installation around Helsinki presenting seductive soft skyscraper proposals.

The Discourse program stimulates critical thinking and inspires new ideas through events, publications, presentations and lectures, while connecting people as a community around ADD.


Herein we present t he ADD THOUGHT public lecture series through an interview with Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser as well as an overview of the entire series so far. We also introduce ADD METAPHYSICS, a publishing project of ADD.






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.


To engage tools in ways not originally designed or intended requires imagination, a critical capacity and an ability to blend approaches and techniques. In this workflow, we test ideas against materials and materials against ideas in response to the unexpected qualities and virtual ties of materials. This type of research is not so much the case when working with off-the-shelf software and hardware, or conventional models of fabrication, where the goal is typically optimization or industrialization. Who or what is your work in dialogue with?

Processes and technologies become more layered as we move to a post-medium condition. Distinctions between digital and analog, virtual and real become outmoded. Moving this paradigm shift onwards is at the heart of the work of Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser, whose Los Angeles-based studio TESTA/WEISER invents, designs and prototypes breakthrough architecture, products, and systems for some of the world’s most innovative companies. As members of the SCI-Arc Design faculty, they have been involved in creating the conceptual and pedagogical framework for the SCI-Arc Robot House, which is a cutting-edge robotics and simulation lab focused on architecture and media arts. What does a digital paradigm mean in the context of contemporary design practice? T/W: 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, we have continuously created new interfaces including software and hardware as part of the design environment and in relation to esthetic 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.

T/W: Our work is in dialogue with a range of progenitors and influences from the worlds of architecture, but also art, science and technology. We work with many different collaborators and partners from NASA to start-ups in the technology sector and Fortune 500 corporations. Our understanding of contemporaneity extends to a conscious positioning of the work in relation to a larger disciplinary and trans-temporal discourse within architecture. Our interest in the post-medium condition relates to 17th century architects Robert Hooke and Christopher Wren, who were masters of drawing, architecture, surveying, and numerous other practices. They inspire aspects of our work today. Our backgrounds are quite different and this brings a wider range of influences and experiences. Devyn has a background in fine arts and fashion design as well as architecture. Her work in couture, with complex shaping and materially driven form has a profound impact on our capacity to innovate with advanced composite materials. I worked for several years with Álvaro Siza in Europe and the United States. Siza’s research continues to influence the spatial focus of our work. Testa and Weiser are partners in charge of design at TESTA/WEISER Inc. and founding members of the MIT Emergent Design Group (EDG). They initiated the SCI-Arc Robotics & Simulation Lab with Stäubli Robotics in 2010. Testa has previously been an Associate Professor of Architecture at Columbia University GSAPP and MIT. Weiser’s current work includes Vaporware, the world’s largest ocean-based energy infrastructure with pilot projects for California and Cape Verde.

When was the last time that you were surprised by a computer in a design process? T/W: 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. Today the more processes and transformations the better, as we cannot fully calculate or predict outcomes. It 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


Left: Devyn Weiser RoCoCo Seminar, SCI-Arc SP12


ADD THOUGHT #1: Clemens Weisshaar Plug It In October 20, 2011


The ADD THOUGHT public lecture series explores work in the electro-material environment. Select international practitioners and researchers are invited to share thoughts and experiences in interdisciplinary practice between engineering, art, architecture and design. Here is an introduction to the ADD THOUGHT lectures and speakers so far. They are available online.

Working towards integrating design work to its full interdisciplinary potential, Kram/Weisshaar also create the software they use to design their projects. “We wanted to go beyond the limits of commercially available software, which in many cases puts its own print on the objects,” they explained in the Wall Street Journal (26 September 2008). Their methods also hold the key to “prioritizing the design of experience over things,” as Frieze magazine (Jan/Feb 2009) described it. Reed Kram (1971) and Clemens Weisshaar (1977) founded Kram/Weisshaar in 2002. Working from Stockholm and Munich, they engage in the design of spaces, products and media. In 2008 the duo were named “Designers of the Future” by Wallpaper* Magazine and Design Miami/Basel. Their clients include Moroso, the Centre Pompidou and BMW, and they have collaborated with e.g. Rem Koolhaas and Miuccia Prada. ADD THOUGHT #2: Ulrika Karlsson Architecture Climates – architectural environments that have the capacity to embrace entropic tendencies December 12, 2011

Top right: Michael Speaks’ lecture New Values for New Design

Aqueotrope reconsiders the green-roof topology and explores the roofscape as a site for the development of synthetic architectural systems that are informed by and integrate systems of organic matter. The project proposes an architecture with the capacity to embrace entropic tendencies and exploit the latent potential of exchanges of energy – in this case the transfer of moisture through an architectural medium and its effects on more extensive ecologies. Ulrika Karlsson is a partner and founding member of the architectural design collaborative servo stockholm. The collaborative develops architectural environments, where technical ecologies are integrated with shifting material states and electronic information infrastructures. Recently servo has for instance designed a hydrodynamic roofscape in Stockholm and exhibited at the Seville Biennale. ADD THOUGHT #3: Greg Lynn Animated Composites & Tectonics January 30, 2012 Digital tools and calculus allow modern designers to move beyond traditional building forms. Greg Lynn is a self-described contrarian, who explained his approach to design through examples of his diverse projects. Digital tools enable the use of organic shapes and variation in his work, often combined with production efficiency and technical functionality to make his designs fulfill their purpose. He was called “a master of the biomorphic form” and the man who coined the phrase “blob architecture” by TIME Magazine in its 2007 listing of The Design 100. He owns the Greg Lynn FORM office and is an o. Univ. Professor of architecture at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna.



ADD THOUGHT #4: Andrew Witt SuperNumeracy—The New (and Old) Mathematics of Design April 12, 2012 Architecture is increasingly informed by mathematical methods and machine technologies of making with designers appropriating and inventing architectural algorithms themselves. Through historical examples and contemporary projects, architect, designer and mathematician Andrew Witt’s lecture looked at the sometimes unexpected, often complex, and always vital interrelationships between design, mathematics, and machines. Currently based in Los Angeles Andrew Witt is Director of Research at Gehry Technologies (GT) of Guggenheim fame. He is also a lecturer at Harvard Graduate School. ADD THOUGHT #5: Michael Speaks New Values for New Design April 23, 2012 The perception of value in design and architecture changed unexpectedly, when the downturn in the global economy started in 2008. In the near future, architecture will be valued on economic, cultural and environmental performance. If architecture is to thrive, it needs to adapt to these shifts, where quick and dirty has eclipsed slow and polished, cheap and simple has taken over expensive and complicated. Disruptive technologies enable all firms to design better buildings and deliver them more efficiently. In the fiercely competitive marketplace, the real differentiator will be design. Design is one of the most powerful engines of innovation, and therefore among the most productive forces of economic value creation. Michael Speaks, Ph.D., is Dean of the College of Design and Professor of Architecture at the University of Kentucky. ADD THOUGHT #6: Klaus Bollinger Developments in Structural Design April 26, 2012 Teamwork is key to successful planning and building. The architect and the other planning parties including the engineers work together to ensure a holistic planning process, which is the basis of high quality and economically efficient construction. Digital technology is required today to make complex planning processes successful. Klaus Bollinger presented selected projects to describe the planning process. In 1983 he co-founded Bollinger + Grohmann together with Manfred Grohmann. Today their practice employs 100 people in Frankfurt am Main, Vienna, Paris, Oslo and Melbourne. ADD THOUGHT #7 David Erdman: Under Pressure May 7, 2012 David Erdman discussed massing in relation to pressurizing architectural space, and recapitulates “mass produc-



tion” as the literal production of mass. He outlined how digital modeling and fabrication processes pressurize the high contrast between materials, programs and geometries. Erdman also shed some light on the process of davidclovers, the practice he founded with Clover Lee in 2007. The collaboration capitalizes on their 15-year experience of designing and completing residential homes, interiors and exhibtions. ADD THOUGHT #8: Hernan Diaz Alonso The Forms of Plenty September 27, 2012 Rituals have had the capacity to combine the power of raw mutilation with highly sophisticated formal understandings of organization. The instruments of rituals have also featured a saturated and excessive ornament. Hernan Diaz Alonso argues that Architecture – with a capital A – has been developed as rituals over its history. There is another history and evolution of rituals in relation to the bodies and their mutilations, human and animal alike. Diaz Alonso is intrigued by the capability of the grotesque and the horrific to produce beauty. Hernan Diaz Alonso is the principal and founder of the design practice Xefirotarch, based in Los Angeles. Considered one of the most influential voices of his generation, Diaz Alonso is the Distinguished Professor of Architecture and the Graduate Thesis Coordinator at SCI-Arc. ADD THOUGHT #9: TESTA/WEISER Collaboration Machines October 11, 2012 Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser presented the conceptual and pedagogical framework for the new SCI-Arc Robot House, a cutting edge robotics and simulation lab focused on architecture and media arts, and also other recent projects at the convergence of advanced materials and robotic fabrication. ADD THOUGHT #10: Enric Ruiz-Geli On Particles November 22, 2012 Particles Architecture is a theory that reflects on an empathetic understanding of society from the visualization of landscape to the design and materialization of the architectural project. Enric Ruiz-Geli introduced the investigations of his theory through a series of projects, which explore the articulation of digital technologies between information, design strategies and construction. Enric Ruiz-Geli is the principal of cutting-edge, experimental Cloud 9 Studio in Barcelona. The practice has made a unique commitment to research and experimentation in fundamentally novel approaches to technology, fabrication and construction to realize these groundbreaking projects. Current works in progress include the New York Aquarium and the new el Bulli foundation headquarters






onf ine. not c l a ri






ADD METAPHYSICS is a publishing project of ADD, which emulates a schoolbook format, and presents an experimental foundation course on the changing logic of material in the digital environment. Through discussions with mechanical engineers and material scientists, ADD METAPHYSICS builds a case for inquisitive artistic practice that converges around the material and the digital as well as the metaphysical – it can mold our perception of the material world as much as materials themselves. The ADD METAPHYSICS publication (ADD 2013) devises literacies for a digital materiality, building awareness around topics such as the autonomy of objects, the mediality of matter, reproduction as a site for revolution, and the ideological origins of computational design. Edited by Jenna Sutela, it includes contributions by Jane Bennett, Vera Bßhlmann, Graham Harman, Ines Weizman and Andrew Witt. ADD t eam: Jenna Sutela, Editorial Projects Johanna Lundberg, Visual Communications Florencia Colombo, Art Direction + Cultural Projects



The Education program focuses on tools, techniques and training in digital design and manufacturing technologies. Cultivating the students’ cutting- edge skills gives them the necessar y means to pursue trailblazing projects within the university and beyond.


Herein we present the ADD VARIANCE workshop series through a diary of the Behavioral Composites workshop with Roland Snooks, and an overview of the entire series so far. We also introduce ADD’s 3D printing workshops.




A WORKSHOP DIARY OF ADD VARIANCE 3 Roland Snooks: Behavioral Composites November 27–December 1, 2012

“Behavioral Composites” instructed by Roland Snooks introduced algorithmic techniques and complex systems in the design and fabrication of a composite fiber surface. Engaging in the behavioral design methodologies of Snooks’ architecture practice Kokkugia, the students designed fibrous surfaces that negotiate between structural and ornamental conditions. The fabrication component meant that the number of students had to be limited to 12 albeit with a variety of backgrounds: architecture, industrial design, furniture design, interactive design and new media.

Day 1: The first day had a heavy emphasis on introducing the basics of Processing. Students were taught why it is the primary software in agent-based modeling as opposed to Rhino, Pyhton or MEL scripting, and they learned how to construct their own Processing script. Students created a red ball that moved horizontally across the dialogue box. The second step was to teach them to make the ball – now white – bounce back and forth between the walls of the dialogue box. This white ball, or the agent, was then multiplied into an infinitely larger population to essentially fill the screen. The day closed with Roland Snooks providing a library of scripts and references the students could use to build a more complex agent population.


Day 2: Building on the previous day, the second day was more focused on the important part of algorithm logic – how to make agents interact with other agents. The key to a multi-agent algorithm is that each agent is able to interact with another agent. Diagrams from Craig Reynold’s categories of flocking typologies were drawn and explained, and through these principles algorithms were assembled. The fundamental logic of agent-based systems is that an agent is only affected by those within its range of vision. These flocking algorithms were then applied to the processing script. The students were then instructed to design a topological surface that the processing script could be applied to.

Day 3: The geometry of the topological surface was further developed by the students in AutoDesk Maya using subdivided surfaces. One-on-one tutoring with Snooks followed regarding the script and how the agent-based algorithm could develop further to generate some interesting moments of attraction, bundling, and bifurcation. The students had 8 hours to complete their design. The finished file was then used to write a g-code – the g-code is used by a CNC 3 axis-milling machine to excavate material from the foam blocks into the desired surface. The milling took place at the Aalto University Art Department with the help of Martin Hackenberg.

Day 4: In preparation of creating the composite surfaces, the students did material experiments with composite materials. They could choose one of two resin types as well as different fiber glass typologies they wanted to use in realizing their panel. Roland walked the students through soaking the glass fiber sheets into the resin as well as coating the polyester strands. These strands represented the vectors generated by the agent-based algorithm.

Day 5: As part of the deliverables, the four groups of three students presented drawings, photos and composite surfaces to Roland Snooks, Kivi Sotamaa and guest critic Kari Lumppio from the Aalto Aeronautical Engineering department. The jury critiqued the students’ process, algorithm, and design strategy. It resulted in an interesting discussion of contemporary design strategy and digital design tool application.




What does a digital design paradigm represent for you in the context of contemporary design practice? RS: All design is now digital. The more critical distinction is between generative computational design and design strategies that is explicit or direct. The volatile conditions that are created in generative design processes enable the emergence of highly intricate geometries and complex organizational structures. In particular generative processes, which engage complex systems, and are capable of emergence, hold great potential for contemporary design practice. How do digital design, new material technologies and fabrication processes develop a societal and cultural impact? RS: Modern architecture and its relationship to massstandardization in construction was closely allied to a societal concern for a unified equality. However the contemporary interest in differentiation and mass-customization has emerged from a wider societal and intellectual concern for complexity theory and a heterogeneous understanding of society – such as Negri and Hardt’s concept of the Multitude. Computational design and robotic fabrication processes are a part of this wider conceptual shift. It is perhaps not so much that design makes a specific societal impact, but rather that architecture and design has an obligation to participate in larger societal and intellectual shifts. How should engineering and design education react to this paradigm shift? RS: It is critical that schools of design teach a conceptual understanding of complex systems and the technical tools to engage with this paradigm. Design schools are currently well placed to take a leading role in adopting and developing new robotic fabrication technologies that are essential to the realization of an increasingly geometrically complex formal sensibility. Snooks is a partner of the experimental architecture practice Kokkugia, and teaches architecture at RMIT University, Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania. Roland’s design research is focused on emergent design processes involving agent-based techniques, and is also the focus of the forthcoming publication “Swarm Intelligence: Architectures of Multi-Agent Systems”.





The ADD VARIANCE workshop series explores formal experimentation and materialization methodologies through an array of digital design and fabrication processes. These workshops contemplate the notions of variance, mutation, and flexibility, which are introduced by digital technologies.

The ADD BASICS education course is a catalogue of introductory classes offered to Aalto University students allowing a bachelor level engagement of technologies offered at ADD. Students are introduced to the basics of 3D modeling tools, Rhino and Maya, as well as 3D printing and other fabrication techniques.

ADD VARIANCE 1 Steven Ma: Animating Form May 7–11, 2012 Participants were introduced to the contemporary discussions of the formal exploration in architecture, through technical attainment of design production and animation. The goal was to push architectural design past the typical “flat” realm of visualization, and create a new category of formal expression. This was done within the discourse based on the use of multi-layered techniques and production processes, which allow control over intelligent geometries, calibration of parts, and behavioral taxonomies, normalizing an innovative field of predictability. After introducing the skills required to animate and model in the way which architecture and design is adopting, Steven Ma moved on to more classical notions of animation. The students arrived at a new object that lies between animation and architecture.

The objective of the ADD 3D Printing Workshop is to introduce the basic level of 3D printing technology to students and researchers on the Aalto Campus. The workshop is based on working with the 3D Touch 3000, a filament fused fabrication tool with three extruder heads. Participants will get a hands-on experience of their designs coming to life after being introduced to the relevant software and hardware. Courses are held at ADD twice a month and are open to all Aalto University students. If you are interested in participating, email to add@addlab.fi Collaborators: Aalto Department Aalto Department Aalto Department Aalto Department

Steven Ma is a design architect for Coophimmelb(L)au in Vienna, specialized in digital visualizations, 3D management & productions.

ADD VARIANCE 2 Robbie Eleazer: Simulation Tectonics October 8–12, 2012 Participants were introduced to contemporary information-based design through two distinct concepts: that of parametric design and that of simulation. Robbie Eleazer introduced architects, designers and engineers to tools for working with ever changing variables in an elegant and contemporary way. Eighteen students with backgrounds ranging from architecture, industrial design and engineering worked for five days to produce complex 3D models as well as 3D prints of pavilion proposals. Robbie Eleazer is currently a lead façade designer at Asymptote Architecture, working with Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture on a parametric façade project in Ghent, Belgium.



of of of of

Architecture Art Business Engineering

BE IN TOUCH If you’d like to mail us something, send it to: Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory P.O. BOX 14400 FI–00076 Aalto Finland If you’d like to visit, come to: Sähkömiehentie 4G, 02150 Espoo, Otaniemi If you have a general enquiry, email to: info@addlab.fi

ADD SUMMARY 2013 is brought to you by designer Johanna Lundberg and copy editor Jonathan Mander with editorial assistance from Emmy Maruta. Printer: Tallinna Raamatutrükikoda, Tallinn © 2013 ADD All rights reserved

This is the final page of ADD SUMMARY 2013. For new projects and a comprehensive collection of all things ADD, visit the website.


Tip your toes into the digital pond and reflect.

Profile for ADD LAB


This publication focuses on ADD, Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory. It introduces ADD to the uninitiated, and it also summarizes wh...


This publication focuses on ADD, Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory. It introduces ADD to the uninitiated, and it also summarizes wh...

Profile for add-lab