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WARM MACHINE: Capstone Project proposal


"I'm still here"

I have decided to coin my capstone project "Warm Machine" for a number of reasons. The literal interpretation is the heating effect the process of cutting material, like wood has on a tool, and how this conjures a notion of productivity and action. Metaphorically the term refers to the creation of objects that embody comfort and warmth through a mechanical process, aswell as the object itself being a functional object, or "machine" designed to accommodate the human body. The objective for my Capstone project is to synthesize these concepts of process and theory and express them in a collection of furniture, prints and lighting that merge the material warmth, tactility and ergonomics of traditional furniture forms with the mechanical processes of modern CNC machining.


My objective is to create furniture that appropriates woodworking traditions and forms of the pre-modernist furniture maker infused with contemporary design forms and manufactured with the aid of automated, computer guided machining. This “tradigital” design method will provide opportunities to explore ways of emulating and subverting staples of pre modernist furniture forms such as ornamentation, engraving, turning and weaving. Ultimately the goal is to bridge the often "cold" technical and mathematical nature of digital design with the warmth and intrinsically human emotion of hand marking and making.

Ornamentation was a staple of furniture design for hundreds of years and was a sign of high-quality craftsmanship. Historically it represented a visual vocabulary of forms that evolved and adapted from culture to culture, a “mark” or “motif” that signified a maker’s association with a moment in design history. Ornamentation has re-merged into contemporary design but in a much more subtle, organic form and chaotic aesthetic. Examining these trends and attempting to expand on their relevancy to modern life and modern objects will be a focus of the collection.  


Through examining, experimenting and digitally subverting traditional mark making techniques like relief carving, turning and other surface marking I will create a system and visual language that can be applied to furniture surfaces. My preliminary designs will be in the form of wood block prints produced through digital modelling and cut using CNC machining. These designs may reflect and mimic imagery of traditional “Arts and Craft” style prints but will be infused with contemporary subject matter. This initial exploration of mark making will inform later “surface” decoration for furniture and décor.


My research and influences for design will range from traditional “Folk art” decoration, traditional wood working furniture forms as well as contemporary examples of surface ornamentation and mathematical image processing.  Subject matter and ornamental designs will explore natural themes, geometry, urbanization and technology. 

My ultimate goal with the “warm machine” collection is to showcase the potential and capabilities of computer-generated design to create furniture and décor that reflect visually and tacitly stimulating “Contemporary meets traditionalist” functional designs while maintaining the obvious presence and effect of the makers hand. 

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