LACEscape Table

Lace landscapes in a form of a table

Lacescape table

SCIENCE AND CULTURE

Almost a hundred years after Le Corbusier conceived a house as a machine for living in, we find ourselves in a similar situation. A house is now a series of overlapping machines – the ones for heating, cooling, cooking, informing; there, we can find computers, TVs, smartphones, ovens, air conditioning, refrigerators... Le Corbusier’s idea has been driven to infinity. Houses, buildings and cities are now becoming “organisms” – a series of machines, which we control and simulate with powerful computers. Control, rationalization, optimization, logistics and science are celebrated, while design and architecture find their justifications, references and analogies in the ”ideal machine” – the nature itself.

On the other hand, concepts brought by postmodernism such as collaging, deconstructing and quoting cultural references are being lost in the idea of searching for the optimum, the ideal or a good enough model which describes our reality. The consequence of such an approach is the reduction of objects to a series of statistics, which cannot deal with the complexity of the society in which we live. Finally, by disregarding the cultural context and the interdependence of multiple factors that determine the object, we encounter the generic.

We believe in rising above the above-mentioned ideological dialogue – science vs culture – by focusing on processes of observing and playing with culture through digital design strategies. We do not want to just deal with geometries and eye-catching patterns generated by algorithmic design. Design process should not be detached from the world. Tabula rasa is neither the origin nor the goal of our design. We want to play with the postmodern legacy of quoting and collaging by using algorithmic design. We quote, rummage and play with the elements of cultural heritage. We take them to infinity. Instead of nature, culture becomes a haven for our machines.

Lacescape table diagram >>> zoom Traditional Croatian Lace >>> infinite LACEscapes

TECHNOLOGY AND TRADITION

Lace and surface, tradition and contemporaneity, digitality and steel. Playing with the extremes. The decoration is not functional, the form is not fixed. Abandoning the modernist slogan of form following function, and taking the postmodern techniques to infinity.

The project LACESCAPE TABLE interweaves the threads of technology and tradition. It was devised by Croatian women lace-makers, and produced by robots. It is completely digitally designed and fabricated. And finally, the LACESCAPE TABLE is not conceived to be as a single, unique object. It is an idea and a concept which incorporates an entire population of tables. Every designed table is unique; each table tells its story through a lace segment to which it refers. It is a piece of an infinite, digitally woven landscape – its lace sometimes originating from Hvar, sometimes from Pag or Lepoglava. The steel origami is its formal frame, yet not its fixed form – it is always similar, yet different.

The lace is its volume, surface, decoration, structure – the lace is its embodiment. It is a game of tradition and technology, a game of design possibilities. It is a design made of stories that describe it, of those who talk about stories and of those who identify with the design.

>>> zoom Lacescape population

LACE-MAKERS AND ROBOTS

When making a table, we no longer rely on craftsmen and their performance. That is, their role has changed. We leave the craftsmanship to the women lace-makers who have, throughout history, developed their algorithms via sticks and bobbins. Today, we perceive the role of a designer differently – we shift our focus onto the narratives, research, and culture.

Our digital database contains centuries of experience of intangible cultural heritage – a somewhat unexpected input for digital manipulation. It is exactly because of the abundance of multiple expressions of lacemaking that we do not limit ourselves on creating one table that will display the single most beautiful Croatian lace. Rather, we direct our focus on a series of objects that will celebrate the richness and diversity of Croatian lacemaking: the beautiful and the mesmerizing patterns, the imperfect and the flawless ones. In order to achieve this task, we have designed three small digital machines: one creating infinite lace landscapes, one stylizing them, and the third – machine for digital origami – giving them shape. When the design process is completed, the digital production takes place: the robots – the ones for cutting and bending – convert the digital image into of a real table.

The designer no longer manipulates the “object” itself, but designs and directs the rules, systems and narratives that will generate, produce and promote that object. The laser cut surface and the digitally bent plate create the LACESCAPE TABLE which examines how the intangible cultural heritage leaves its mark on the future of the digital design.