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11th

D’Arcy Thompson and contemporary design

Categories: Categorie 1 |

Scottish D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson has long held an extraordinary fascination for us visual thinkers, including many a 20th century artist. Inspired by Albrecht Durer's famous heads (see below, we even have a Vulcan), he developed a mathematical model as to how environmental forces affect the growth of organisms in his famous "On Growth and Form".  

Of particular interest is the structural approach that ensures changes in the part affect the entire form.  His influence over major figures from many different disciplines from the arts to structuralism during the 20th century was huge.  Today, while looking for ways to use a 3D matrix scatterplot to represent the field of visualization (sorry, no luck yet), I ran into a lovely design company called Nervous System — their own words, "a generative design studio that works at the intersection of science,
art, and technology. We create using a novel process that employs
computer simulation to generate designs and digital fabrication to
realize products."

I recommend their short video.  Below, one of their luminaries.  Is this D'Arcy Thompson's influence still at work?  Don't know enough about the mathematics to say, but the work is inspirational in its use of organic form.  Let us draw trees!

 

6_profilograph-durer-heads-original
Durer's "profilographs"

Variant-thompson-chap12-fish-1
D'Arcy Thompson, Chapter 12

HyphaeLamp_1_medium

"Hyphae lamp" by Nervous System

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