How many chairs have already been designed and how many more will be designed in the future? How can this form evolve? Which combination of elements will lead to the creation of the perfect chair? How far can technology assist in perfecting design and optimizing production? These are just some of the questions that concern Jan Habraken and his team of designers at FormNation, a New York based European design studio specialized in architecture, product and environmental design. Following Darwinian Theory, after commencing a scientific inquiry, Habraken's chairs evolution theory led to the Chairgenics project: a quest to breed the ultimate chair by combining the right elements in order to move towards genetic perfection.
''The future of 3D design and creation will be limited only by our imagination. We believe technical barriers will be solved to make perfect prototypes indistinguishable from production models. At FormNation, we try to go past what we know and let artificial intelligence design objects beyond our comprehension... beyond our own imagination.''
The Chairgenics project itself was made possible with the valuable support of Californian-Norwegian start-up Uformia, more specifically the morphing specialist Mathieu Sanchez whose volumetric 3D modeling software managed to make the desired automated progress towards the concept of the ultimate chair, a viable reality. That said, the obstacles Chairgenics found along the way, were similar to problems found in human genetics where according to FormNation's team ''We encountered breeding difficulties in early morphs and established that not all chairs make good mates, for example, the backrest of some chairs disappeared while the stool remained… Subsequent generations of chairs were dramatically improved by adding anatomical boundaries, allowing us to control the growth in each 'bodypart' and avoid inbreeding.''
From October 14, 2013, through to July 6, 2014, viewers will have the chance to witness the first 3D-printed full scale Chairgenics models up close at the MAD Museum in New York City during the ''Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital'' exhibition. Curated by Ron Labaco, the exhibition aims to explore the many areas of 21st-century creativity that have been made possible by advanced digital fabrication methods in computer-assisted production such as 3D printing, CNC (computer-numerically-controlled) machining and digital knitting that have offered new and exciting opportunities for artists, architects and designers to rethink their creative processes. Some of the most compelling creations from the past decade ranging from sculpture and furniture to fashion and transport from over 80 international artists, architects, and designers, including Ron Arad, Barry X Ball, Zaha Hadid, Stephen Jones, Anish Kapoor, Allan McCollum, Marc Newson, and Roxy Paine will also be on exhibit.