Digital Fabrication was once seen as separate to natural materials and living things. Advances in this technology, such as 3D printing, have allowed us to create objects and materials that are so close to nature they could almost be mistaken as organically made. With greater understanding of how nature creates its intricate objects we are now able to mick these processes using technology. This is exciting for the future as we could create products that blend with our natural environment and are made in the most efficient way possible.
Aguahoja is an exploration of digitally designed and robotically fabricated objects, made from the molecular components found in tree branches, insect exoskeletons, and our own bones. Derived from organic matter, printed by a robot, and shaped by water, this project allows us to imagine what the future of fabrication and our relationship with nature could be.
The aim of the project is to create a singular material structure, similar to those found in nature, such as within coral reefs and forests. This is to replace the harmful amalgamation of materials currently used to create our built environment. As it is almost impossible for them to degrade or be recycled.
The biocomposite objects are composed of the most abundant materials on our planet – cellulose, chitn, and pectin. These materials are digitally fabricated to create biodegradable composites with functional, mechanical, and optical gradients across length scales ranging from millimeters to metres.
By creating different algorithms, chemical formulae, and mechanical properties, the final outcomes can be used for a variety of applications, such as within architecture. A variety of objects have been made, including a architectural-scale iteration standing five meters tall. Due to the robotic precise fabrication a generative surface pattern can alter the properties of the objects, such as stiffness and colour of each panel. Each piece changes within its environment depending on factors such as humidity or heat. Making them transparent and glassy, or giving them a flexible, leather like, quality. But all of them are programmed to dissociate in water over time, and return to the ecosystem in which they were initially constructed from.