This exhibition explores a new perspective on the relationships between craft and technology.
Rejecting the modernist maxim of ‘form follows function’, the designers have created wildly decorative objects for three domestic settings, drawing into focus the emergence of a new organic high-tech aesthetic language only made possible by the advent of computer aided design, 3D printing and robotics.
The title of this exhibition Ornament is fine pokes fun at the seminal essay Ornament and Crime (1913) written by modernist architect Adolf Loos, who argued that the highly ornate designs of the time caused objects to rapidly go out of style and thus become obsolete.
Loos was alluding to a new moral design code of 20Th Century modernism – a period of design where ornament was stripped away and replaced by seemingly more efficient systems for the production of standardized objects and buildings, that could be produced on an industrial scale, and be deployed universally across geography, culture and local context.
The work presented here is made by 3D clay printers that the designers have built themselves. Driven by computer code, they print with extruded clay in three dimensional space. The printers and the resulting objects herald the emergence of a new wave of small scale, high-tech distributed manufacturing that is sweeping the globe – what some call the 21st Century post-industrial period.
Programmed, the 3D printers tirelessly create the ever-changing visual language of technology, where the mechanical method of extruding the clay, the forces of physics and material properties of the clay itself define the end product – each a small marker of a rapidly emerging world where designers design systems of making, and where ornament is fine.