Alexander
Rulkens
interaction designer creative coder explorer

Forest Table

Digitally grown table with venation structure

The 'roots' of the Tree Tables

The cell structure of leaves is simulated by a design tool, so the designers at Joris' studio could use it to create a design for laser cutting and CNC milling. The tool is easy to use yet very powerful and can create complex, natural-looking shapes.

Year

2012

Client

Joris Laarman

My role

Creating a design tool as input for CNC milling process

Team

Joris Laarman

,

Tim Geurtjens

Links
Tech

Java / Processing

,

Illustrator

Finished Tree Tables on display

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The Idea

From the start of the project Joris knew clearly what he wanted to build. Because he did not have programming experience it was my job to translate his ideas and sketches into files ready for production by his team.

First tests - rejected

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Inspiration

The surface of the tables should resemble the veins in a leaf. I did a lot of research on the way leaves are built and how the cell structure within leaves grow. I modelled this structure on three levels using Voronoi algorithms which give a very natural and cell-like appearance.

Leaf venation structure

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Detailing

After a number of tests it was clear that the algorithm on its own could not produce the desired result. Therefore I modified the program so the designers could change the structure of the cells to perfectly suit it to their needs. The algorithm then calculated the final outline which could be tweaked afterwards. After a number of iterations we came to the perfect balance between automated creation and user modification. The structure was refined afterwards with smooth corners and offsets, with software commonly used in GIS.

The interface

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Exhibition

The final designs were exhibited in a number of art shows and galleries around the world, most notably in South-Korea.

Exhibition in Korea

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