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Reconciling Form and Function through Generative Design

Nordin, Axel LU (2015)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Industridesigners förlitar sig ofta på konstnärliga experiment, estetisk inspiration, eller så kallade designbriefer för att nå fram till lösningar på designproblem. Dessa utgångspunkter leder ofta till tillfredsställande resultat, men de skulle kunna kompletteras med verktyg hämtade från andra discipliner, till exempel algoritmer för att optimera en produkt, eller för att låta produktens form ”växa” fram som i naturen, så kallad generativ design. Genom att ta vara på möjligheterna som datorbaserade verktyg erbjuder så hade industridesignern alltså kunnat använda former som tidigare varit alltför komplexa för att hantera och utvärdera manuellt, och därmed få nya sätt att uttrycka sig ... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Industridesigners förlitar sig ofta på konstnärliga experiment, estetisk inspiration, eller så kallade designbriefer för att nå fram till lösningar på designproblem. Dessa utgångspunkter leder ofta till tillfredsställande resultat, men de skulle kunna kompletteras med verktyg hämtade från andra discipliner, till exempel algoritmer för att optimera en produkt, eller för att låta produktens form ”växa” fram som i naturen, så kallad generativ design. Genom att ta vara på möjligheterna som datorbaserade verktyg erbjuder så hade industridesignern alltså kunnat använda former som tidigare varit alltför komplexa för att hantera och utvärdera manuellt, och därmed få nya sätt att uttrycka sig på.

Avhandlingen fokuserar på hur man kan öka samspelet mellan industridesign och de andra aktiviteterna inom produktutveckling, som till exempel konstruktion och produktion genom användningen av generativa designverktyg, men även på hur liknande verktyg hade kunnat användas av konsumenter för att designa sina egna produkter. Detta har krävt en inventering av lämpliga former i naturen och matematiken, produktionssystem och produktkategorier. Ett antal generativa designverktyg har även utvecklats och testats i industrin och av konsumenter. En stor utmaning har varit hur användaren av ett generativt designverktyg på bästa sätt kan manipulera de komplexa former som genereras. En annan utmaning har varit hur tekniska krav på produkten, som hållfasthet eller tillverkbarhet, ska kunna uppfyllas när användaren inte själv har möjlighet att utvärdera dem.

Resultaten visar att det är möjligt att tillämpa generativ design inom produktdesign och att det redan är användbart för industrin: undersökningen visar att det finns ett stort område där det går att använda generativ design, den bekräftar att det finns beräkningsmetoder för att hantera tekniska och användarrelaterade krav och mål; den visar att det går att hitta användargränssnitt som passar både konsumenter och designers; och slutligen så har ett antal fysiska produkter tillverkats som har fått acceptans från såväl industri som konsumenter på internationella designmässor, vilket bekräftar att designsystemens resultat är giltiga och användbara. (Less)
Abstract
The current form-giving activity in industrial design is characterized by explorations that depend on the individual capability to mentally manipulate a solution space from which to select and express the intended result. Industrial designers frequently rely on artistic experimentation, aesthetic inspiration, or design briefs. These points of departure often result in satisfactory results, but they could be augmented by algorithmic form generation, optimization, and complex morphologies. By adopting this approach, the industrial designer would also be able to efficiently use forms that have previously been too complex to handle and evaluate manually, thereby gaining new ways of expanding his or her morphological repertoire. This... (More)
The current form-giving activity in industrial design is characterized by explorations that depend on the individual capability to mentally manipulate a solution space from which to select and express the intended result. Industrial designers frequently rely on artistic experimentation, aesthetic inspiration, or design briefs. These points of departure often result in satisfactory results, but they could be augmented by algorithmic form generation, optimization, and complex morphologies. By adopting this approach, the industrial designer would also be able to efficiently use forms that have previously been too complex to handle and evaluate manually, thereby gaining new ways of expanding his or her morphological repertoire. This development has been seen in other creative professions such as architecture, fine arts, modern music, and contemporary dance, but because of a different set of constraints linked to physical products, the progress has not been as rapid in industrial design. The difficulty of fulfilling these constraints is evident, as many iterations in the product development process are necessary between the different activities such as industrial design, engineering design, and production before a satisfactory design has been achieved. Additionally, if form is algorithmically generated and engineering and production demands are integrated in the process, partial or full transfer of the design activity to customers becomes a concrete option.

The possible results of achieving these goals are that designers gain a larger repertoire of morphologies to work from, the product development time can be reduced, the design concepts can stay true to the vision of the industrial designer, and the customers can tailor products to their needs.

To achieve these goals, an approach is suggested that entails developing generative design tools that allow a user to design products with complex forms, while assisting them in ensuring the products’ producibility and function. The focus is on increasing the integration between the industrial design activity and the other product development activities, more specifically engineering design and production

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate this approach, and to develop and test its technical feasibility and acceptance among designers and consumers. This has involved compiling an inventory of suitable morphologies, production systems and products, implementing and testing several generative design tools in industrial projects, looking into challenges concerning user manipulation of complex morphologies and industrial implementation, developing techniques for handling engineering constraints and objectives, testing the acceptance of the generative design tools with industrial designers and customers, and producing physical objects based on the output from the tools.

The results of this work show that this approach is feasible and is even already useful to the industry: the studies establish that there exists a feasible domain of application; they confirm that there are computational methods for handling engineering and user constraints and objectives; in the performed project the design process could be made to fit the needs of both consumers and designers; finally, physical products have been produced and have received acceptance by peers in international design fairs, thereby verifying and validating the output of the tools. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Prof. Shea, Kristina, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Generative design, morphological repertoire, constraint handling, optimization, customization, industrial design, engineering design
pages
212 pages
publisher
Division of Machine Design, Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering LTH, Lund University
defense location
at Stora Hörsalen, IKDC, Sölvegatan 26, Lund University, Faculty of Engineering, LTH.
defense date
2015-12-10 09:00
external identifiers
  • Other:LUTMDN/TMKT-15/1030-SE
ISBN
978-91-7623-541-6
978-91-7623-540-9
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
12b40adf-c929-4bdd-a92e-a4f9544b7e45 (old id 8170490)
date added to LUP
2015-11-16 10:32:23
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:07
@misc{12b40adf-c929-4bdd-a92e-a4f9544b7e45,
  abstract     = {The current form-giving activity in industrial design is characterized by explorations that depend on the individual capability to mentally manipulate a solution space from which to select and express the intended result. Industrial designers frequently rely on artistic experimentation, aesthetic inspiration, or design briefs. These points of departure often result in satisfactory results, but they could be augmented by algorithmic form generation, optimization, and complex morphologies. By adopting this approach, the industrial designer would also be able to efficiently use forms that have previously been too complex to handle and evaluate manually, thereby gaining new ways of expanding his or her morphological repertoire. This development has been seen in other creative professions such as architecture, fine arts, modern music, and contemporary dance, but because of a different set of constraints linked to physical products, the progress has not been as rapid in industrial design. The difficulty of fulfilling these constraints is evident, as many iterations in the product development process are necessary between the different activities such as industrial design, engineering design, and production before a satisfactory design has been achieved. Additionally, if form is algorithmically generated and engineering and production demands are integrated in the process, partial or full transfer of the design activity to customers becomes a concrete option.<br/><br>
The possible results of achieving these goals are that designers gain a larger repertoire of morphologies to work from, the product development time can be reduced, the design concepts can stay true to the vision of the industrial designer, and the customers can tailor products to their needs.<br/><br>
To achieve these goals, an approach is suggested that entails developing generative design tools that allow a user to design products with complex forms, while assisting them in ensuring the products’ producibility and function. The focus is on increasing the integration between the industrial design activity and the other product development activities, more specifically engineering design and production<br/><br>
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate this approach, and to develop and test its technical feasibility and acceptance among designers and consumers. This has involved compiling an inventory of suitable morphologies, production systems and products, implementing and testing several generative design tools in industrial projects, looking into challenges concerning user manipulation of complex morphologies and industrial implementation, developing techniques for handling engineering constraints and objectives, testing the acceptance of the generative design tools with industrial designers and customers, and producing physical objects based on the output from the tools.<br/><br>
The results of this work show that this approach is feasible and is even already useful to the industry: the studies establish that there exists a feasible domain of application; they confirm that there are computational methods for handling engineering and user constraints and objectives; in the performed project the design process could be made to fit the needs of both consumers and designers; finally, physical products have been produced and have received acceptance by peers in international design fairs, thereby verifying and validating the output of the tools.},
  author       = {Nordin, Axel},
  isbn         = {978-91-7623-541-6},
  keyword      = {Generative design,morphological repertoire,constraint handling,optimization,customization,industrial design,engineering design},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {212},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xa43b240)},
  title        = {Reconciling Form and Function through Generative Design},
  year         = {2015},
}