GOING WITH THE GRAIN: design an object using sustainable wood

Competition Details
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swOllen surface

by Brian Hamilton
Co-authors:

The concept of the “swollen surface” came directly the limitation of designing an original and compelling object that could be made from a single sheet of plywood measuring 4-feet x 8-feet x 1-inch.

The challenge was addressed as a design exercise in which two objectives aside from the competition requirements were to be met. The first being to optimally utilize the given surface area and thickness of the material, making full use of the material aside from the CNC milling paths of an 1/8-inch cutting bit. The second objective was to dissolve the physical and perceptual sense of flatness inherent to the material and design an object that establishes an augmented sense of dimensionality.

The response to these two design criteria resulted in the creation of a semi-ambiguous modular system with multi-functionality. Once assembled and installed, the units are meant to perceptually become an immediate extension of the host surface, expanding gradually beyond the normal or original limit of the flat context forming multi-dimensional bulges or rounded profiles.