RESEARCH + DESIGN

"The story of our relationship with clay is the story of material culture. It is the story of domesticity, and the story of technological advances. The inventions of the wheel and the kiln, the understanding that fire could turn mud to stone, were the foundation of the thousands of technologies that have followed" (Staubach 2005).

Ceramics have played a crucial role in the history of innovation and in the evolution of human progress. Understanding this role in relationship to its place in the home with vessels and stoves, in the development of machinery and industry through the production of the kiln and potter’s wheel, and its role in architecture from the primitive hut to the curvilinear forms of Antonio Gaudi, the Object of Rotation project strives to continue this evolution by providing new design opportunities and digital tools for the production of ceramics. The project brings together the contradictory qualities of perceived digital control with those of a process that has traditionally been dependent of human touch, sensitivity, and innate responsiveness to material production and craft. It also strives to provide an opportunistic approach to design research by exploring the potential of ceramics as a malleable material and by integrating ceramic traditions and tools with automated strategies and robotic technology. Through the integration of the ancient craft of throwing with the precision and control of digital production, the project seeks to not only establish a connection between craft based processes and digital fabrication techniques, but also strives to provide design opportunities through the development of new production tools and approaches.

Project Team: Jili Huang, Saurabh Mhatre, & Isaac Smith

*Related project & paper included in the conference and book for Rob|Arch 2014 Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art, and Design