Generative Design

The future of CAD

4 billion years of design experience

with 2 comments

Without due respect for design researchers, I  remain puzzled why a an excellent design process working over billions of years is routinely ignored by design researchers. Nature seems to have not only  solved the “design problem” it seem to have honed it to perfection. The basics of natural design process is now relatively well understood and it is eminently replicable in parametric CAD systems. It seems that

current design processes are still rooted in a medieval practice.

Computers have made slow inroads by first replicating the drafting board and then displaying stuff in 3D.  They remain ever more powerful un-grumbling  workhorse that carry the burden of human imagination. This about to change.

We are in the early days of exploiting its explorative capabilities of this powerful beast of burden. Designers seem to be continuously enthralled by its increasing ability to carry out schemes of design conceived on a medieval  mental  frame-work. This frame-work relies solely on what was available to designers for hundreds of years – their own creative imagination, developed through years of practice.  Designers are unlikely to dump their hard-earned skills. Design is too much fun and too much tied to personal egos  of the designers  to be handed over to machines.  But can these dumb machines have a mind of their own ? Can they participate in the creative process ? or should they be used solely to lend an air of sophistication to an otherwise age-old process ?

We ignore the obvious. That which is all around us and the very own  process that created us – the Natural Design Process. We have in nature a well-developed finely honed, amazingly efficient and powerful design process that created the diversity of life on earth. We have in our current CAD programs the ability to represent geometry, form and  build sequence – all that is required for creation of digital artifacts of infinite forms. They can be created in CAD packages with due consideration to engineering and manufacturing limits can now be reliably realized as artifacts.

Do we need design theories ?

Written by Sivam Krish

October 28, 2009 at 9:53 pm

2 Responses

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  1. well, let me add the following (and hope i’m on the same thought path as you)…

    yes, i too wonder why all design starts from scratch and why there can’t be slight variable – evolution – of design from one year to another. Using extrapolated “definitions or formula’s of change” from nature and how plants and animals are all related yet have different overall shape/size/color (as seen in the image above).

    no design is ever DONE, it can always be tweaked when new materials or processed become available. i often revisit old work and try to take it in new directions when i happen upon knowledge/technology that is suitable in such a purpose.

    software is a great tool, and for me a way to explore new ideas that just isn’t possible in the real world regardless of scale.


    November 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm

  2. I am glad that you see value in continuity. Most designers like to think that they have have continuously break from the past and be continuously creative. They are often under pressure to be creative. Nature is also under pressure to be creative but over longer periods of time.

    Sivam Krish

    November 20, 2009 at 4:08 am

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