Innovation and tradition - crafts in digital age


Katarzyna AUGUSTYNIAK *1

*1 Campos Costa Arquitectos


The presented proposal builds on the idea that engagement between advanced digital manufacturing methods and traditional, raw material enables creation of wide range of novel solutions, applicable in both architecture and design. This conviction arouse from our research on cork and cardboard, developed under CACO brand, where we explore new applications of mentioned materials using digital form finding and computer aided manufacturing for its fabrication and design. CACO brand and investigation project builds on the belief that architectural material and formal investigation can contribute to product design improvement and conversely.

The disciplines of architecture and product design, although clearly separated, came into interaction several times in the history. Probably the strongest moment of an architect as a multi scale creator are the times of the Bauhaus school, which aimed for architecture strongly integrated with other disciplines of art, design and industry. Our explorations stay in line with a modern objective of reuniting creativity and manufacturing.  On the contrary to the popular technological fear, we take an advantage of contemporary digital tools that enable a close-up between architect and manufacturer, more than any time before. moreover, just as in a traditional craftsmanship, usage of robotic fabricating equipment demands great sensibility and knowledge of material. Consequently usage of advanced  fabricating  techniques  leads to reintegration  between architecture, design and manufacturing craft, rather than to substitution of one of them.

CACO pieces have their common origins in original interior design of low bar in bairro alto (Lisbon, 2010), where we first explored an organic, ergonomic piece in a big scale, created and constructed using cad cam tools. They permitted high control of the design results, quick, continues introduction of changes and almost immediate preparation of documentation for prototyping and production. Recently, we are using the 3d modeling in rhino environment for an initial form finding. Further development and prototyping is performed cooperation with manufacturers that vary depending on the material. Some of the forms are tested in both cardboard and cork, what results in closely related pieces, different in the character due to its materiality.

Proposed study is a critical analysis of conducted explorations and its results. following cross’s (2001) statement that design is a genuine way of knowledge production, we take a look back on the preceding investigation focusing on defining our place as multi scale architects in the context of undoubtedly influential digitalization of design and manufacturing tools.