Neri Oxman

Pneuma 1. Helmet.

Neri Oxman  Pneuma 1

source: webmediamitedu

Greek for ‘air in motion’, the ancient word Pneuma is used in religious contexts to denote the spirit or the soul housed by the human ribcage. The wind of breath is equivalent in the material monism of Anaximenes to air as the element from which all else originates, and it is due to the architecture of the human house-of-breath that life’s air can be maintained. Pneuma 1 marks a series of design explorations depicting this ethereal constituent in material form, as a housing unit for the spirit from which breath emerges. Inspired by animals of the phylum Porifera such as sponges, this soft armor is designed to protect the body while providing comfort and flexibility. Two bodies filled with pores and channels allowing air to circulate throughout are printed using multiple materials with varying mechanical properties making up the stiff continuous shell and soft inner regions.
In collaboration with W. Craig Carter (MIT) and Joe Hicklin (The Mathworks)

About the collection

Design and Mythology are both media for storytelling that represent general cultural truths and their human meaning. Like design, mythology is a universal language by which to decode human culture; and as in design, myths often employ the augmentation of human power in expressing the super-natural. Indeed, throughout the history of design, humans have attempted the unattainable. From Da Vinci’s human-powered aircraft as inspired by the wings of Icarus, to inventions of material self-repair and regeneration dating back to the myth of the Promethean liver, design has consistently dealt with amplifying human powers or compensating for human limitations. It is not surprising then, that mythological ‘beings’ are often portrayed as personifications of natural forces. Indeed, the myths that tell of these earlier gods fulfilled the role of explaining the existence of nature. The collection includes 18 prototypes for the human body inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings. An encyclopedia of fantastic zoology, the book contains descriptions of 120 mythical beasts from folklore and literature. Situated within and against the forces of nature, Borges’ bestiary provides the site for coupling the ‘cultural’ with the ‘natural’ in design, by designing a collection of nature-inspired human augmentations. Imaginary Beings : Mythologies of the Not Yet postulates that futuristic design afforded by technological advancements, is rooted in fantasy and in myth: from the Golem of Prague to robotic exoskeletons, from Daphne’s wings to flying machines, from Talos’ armor to protective skins; mythemes – the design kernel of the myth as defined by Claude Levi-Strauss – provide us with eternal archetypes of the super-natural and its material expressions. Each ‘being’ in this series encapsulates the amplification and personalization of a particular human function such as the ability to fly, or the secret of becoming invisible. What was once considered magic captured by myth, becomes actuality as design and its material technologies offer more than meets the skin: spider suits, wing contraptions, and ultra-light helmets; these are all what one may consider mythologies of the “Not Yet”. In projecting the future, this work makes use of new and innovative material technologies enhancing both the physical and environmental properties of these wearable myths and habitable contraptions. A library of algorithms inspired by form found in nature informs the design and fabrication process. Novel multi-material 3-D printing technologies along with new design features such as bitmap printing and property textures have been developed to support material performance and expression. Revealing nature’s design language, this collection of objects represents a library of design principles inspired by nature suggesting that the ancient myth and its futuristic counterpart unite where design fabrication recapitulates fantasy.
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source: materialecology

Architect and designer Neri Oxman is the Sony Corporation Career Development Professor and Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs the Mediated Matter design research group. Her group explores how digital design and fabrication technologies mediate between matter and environment to radically transform the design and construction of objects, buildings, and systems. Her goal is to enhance the relationship between the built and the natural environments by employing design principles inspired by nature and implementing them in the invention of novel digital design technologies. Areas of application include product and architectural design, as well as digital fabrication and construction.

Oxman was named to ICON’s list of the top 20 most influential architects to shape our future (2009), and was selected as one of the 100 most creative people by FASTCOMPANY (2009). In 2008, she was named “Revolutionary Mind” by SEED Magazine. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA (NYC) and is part of the museum’s permanent collection. In 2012 the Centre Georges Pompidou Museum (Paris, France) acquired her works for its permanent collection. Other exhibitions include the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, DC), Museum of Science (Boston, MA), FRAC Collection (Orleans, France), and the 2010 Beijing Biennale. She is included in prestigious private collections and has received numerous awards including a 40 Under 40 Building Design + Construction Award (2012), a Graham Foundation Carter Manny Award (2008), the International Earth Award for Future-Crucial Design (2009), and a METROPOLIS Next Generation Award (2009). Most recently, in 2014 Oxman has won the Vilcek Prize in Design.

Neri Oxman received her PhD in design computation as a Presidential Fellow at MIT, where she developed the theory and practice of Material Ecology. In this approach, the shaping of material structure is conceived of as a novel form of computation. Prior to MIT, she earned her diploma from the Architectural Association (RIBA 2) after attending the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the Department of Medical Sciences at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
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source: mediamitedu

Designer Neri Oxman is the Sony Corporation Career Development and assistant professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs the Mediated Matter research group. Her group explores how digital design and fabrication technologies mediate between matter and environment to radically transform the design and construction of objects, buildings, and systems. Oxman coined the term “material ecology” to describe the study and design of products and processes integrating environmentally aware, computational, form-generation processes and digital fabrication. Her goal is to enhance the relationship between the built and the natural environments by employing design principles inspired by nature, and implementing them in the invention of novel digital design technologies. Areas of application include product and architectural design, as well as digital fabrication and construction.

Oxman was named to ICON’s list of the 20 most influential architects to shape our future (2009), and was selected as one of the “100 most creative people” by Fast Company (2009). In 2008, she was named “Revolutionary Mind” by SEED Magazine. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA (NYC) and is part of the museum’s permanent collection. In 2012 the Centre Georges Pompidou Museum (Paris, France) acquired her works for its permanent collection. Other exhibitions include the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, DC), Museum of Science (Boston, MA), FRAC Collection (Orleans, France), and the 2010 Beijing Biennale. She is included in prestigious private collections and has received numerous awards including a 40 Under 40 Building Design + Construction Award (2012), a Graham Foundation Carter Manny Award (2008), the International Earth Award for Future-Crucial Design (2009), and a METROPOLIS Next Generation Award (2009).

Neri Oxman received her PhD in design computation as a Presidential Fellow at MIT, where she developed the theory and practice of material-based design computation. In this approach, the shaping of material structure is conceived of as a novel form of computation. Prior to studying at MIT, she earned her diploma from the Architectural Association (RIBA 2) after attending the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the Department of Medical Sciences at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.