Minimising Timeframe from Idea to Product

“Form follows constrains” philosophy aids design processAlienology’s physical design output is pretty impressive.  As a designer your head space has to be perpetually filled with evolving concepts.  Time permitting, those imagined concepts become sketches or even make it to the CAD phase for rendering.  Resources permitting, a concept will result in a prototype.  However, the chances of the prototype ever becoming a product that makes it to the market are pretty negligible.

Alienology founder Igor Knezevic isn’t interested in showing half-baked concepts or even refined ideas.  Alienology portfolio consists only of products available for purchase – an outcome enabled by a commitment to minimise the time span between idea and the manufactured object. Igor has embraced on demand digital fabrication with every limb to rapidly move through a process that would have required much time and capital investment under the traditional manufacturing model.

The LA based design company embraced the Ponoko model from the onset and has used its laser cutting and 3D printing services to create numerous lighting elements, jewelry and tableware.  Igor already had experience with digifabbing technologies and had access to making facilities, but the option of an online service made it possible for him to focus on designing the products rather that concerning himself with how to make them physically.

Of course, design is never a straight forward process, and prototyping one of its integral features.  Many of Igor’s designs undergo repeated experimentation to achieve the functionality, fabrication efficiency and the desired aesthetic of the final product.  Igor has had pieces 3D printed in plastics and Stainless Steel, and for laser cut objects worked with tinted acrylics, felt and different wood materials, such as Veneer Core and Eurolite Poplar.  He makes a point of considering material quality as one of the starting points in a design, so little finishing is necessary to complete the products.  There are also some products that are designed to be spray-painted and lacquered.A few words from the designer after the jump:

How would you describe your creative process? There is certain aesthetic and logic in my works. What emerges is hopefully a beautiful form, but based on strict constraints of material and geometrical or computational rules. Most of my works have certain degree of parametric dependencies. By using parametric and CG (computer graphics) software to create most of my designs, a new aesthetics is emerging. The final form is rarely immediately apparent. For most of objects created from flat sheets of material, I try to honor that initial given situation…. and use that to my advantage. Also I always try to use maximum material from the sheet. I truly believe that constraints are good for design. In other words, if you choose these constraints wisely, the design solution will emerge out of that naturally.

There is a progression in design process. Line is basic element (1D)… then you go about designing 2D pattern by altering these lines… then you fold that into 3D form. You keep doing that back and forth.

Do you have any tips for other makers? Adjust your designs incrementally… do not work at it for months fixing small details only so see that overall concept is not good. Instead, make early cuts – and then DO SHOW that to friends and other designers. Then, DO LISTEN to what they say. Then… disregard most of what they say (for a while), seriously reconsider what you did so far and why, and then make final decisions yourself. Revise and improve design. There will be failures. Try again. Keep repeating. So it goes.

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