This one off lamp was created from alternating layers of 3.5mm perspex and plywood. The manufacture of the lamp involved several different steps; 3D modelling of the desired form, splitting and labeling of each material layer, layout of cut patterns, laser cutting, lamination of layers, sanding, shaping and finishing of the final form.
Even with perfect 3D modelling and millimeter precise laser cutting, the lamp still needed heavily finishing by hand. This therefore abstracted the digitally intended form through less precise but necessary methods of manufacture given the available equipment at hand.
It is worth pointing out that 5 axis CNC milling could produce the final lamp true to the originally modeled 3D form, with no abstractions or variations; a perfect physical copy of the 3D information. Moreover a skilled craftsman could also produce the same object given enough information from the designer, without the use of any computer controlled machinery.
The difference between these two methods comes down to how the information from the designer is interpreted within the manufacturing process. No matter how skilled a craftsman, there is still a level of interpretation to be made from any set of information. Drawings are normally the mediation between designer and craftsman and therefore the design of an object is only as good as the information or drawings are to describe it.
Digital fabrication techniques on the other hand are capable of perfectly manufacturing digital information with no third party between designer and fabricator. However with no mediation between on screen digital information and the actual physical object, save for photo real renderings, there lies the risk of an alienation and a hands on distance between the digital designer and the intended form.
The final lamp here is a hybrid of digital and traditional low skilled fabrication techniques. Laser cutting the material produced a rough, stepped version of the lamp with the final form hidden beneath. Sanding and shaping allowed for the form to be drawn out, and worked upon, abstracting what was digitally intended but consequently allowed for hands on shaping, feeling and finishing to the designers final sensitivities.
The ultimate lesson of this hybridised process is not the avocation of handcraft in all projects, as it sometimes may not be necessary or appropriate at all. However as digital manufacturing techniques are becoming more and more accessible to architects and designers, it is apparent in some cases that manufacturing convenience can sometimes overshadow real design intent; the loss of a human touch that cannot be easily digitally simulated. By incorporating an element of hand craft, a designer can imprint something more within an object.
“Design refers to the will to interpret the meaning of human life and existence through the process of making things.”Kenya Hara