Biophilia Hypothesis in practice. Beautiful practice.Many designers are inspired by forms or patters found in nature, but few articulate that organic influence through a scientific means. Paul Krix from Neat Objects creates uniquely individual laser cut jewellery that is aesthetically informed by programming based on an algorithm he discovered some years ago. The early seeds of inspiration were planted when Paul read a paper that compared city street networks with common leaf vein patterns, concluding that pictures of either were indistinguishable to most people. Later, Paul came across research on algorithmic mimicking of the chemical process of leaf formation and decided to use that as a basis for a modelling program.
The basic idea is I tell it how I want it to behave and give it a few starting pieces of information, like where to start growing from and the shape of the surface, then it does all the hard work of deciding where the veins will grow.
Paul’s biomorphic inspiration comes from various natural patterns and processes that are both beautiful and complex: crystal growth, moth wing patterns, leaf veins, tree growth, petals, and the process of reaction-diffusion which is behind zoological colourings/patterns. This design approach is based on the Biophilia Hypothesis that is rooted in the ideas of American biologist E. O. Wilson.
The premise is that human beings tend to like things that remind them of life. An example is if you design a room with high ceilings and exposed beams that look a little bit like tree branches, people feel comfortable and happy there even though they can’t say why.
At this stage all the designs are laser cut, but Paul is creating code for generating 3D printed objects. All the laser cut pieces require minimal finishing, mostly a spray of lacquer and attaching findings. The packaging is custom cut for each jewellery piece and is designed to keep folding and gluing to a minimum. Most of the jewellery is cut from 3mm bamboo, which Paul describes as “incredible”.
The grain looks amazing and it seems to cut quite well. Bamboo is really strong, and as a plywood even more so. Even at 3mm I don’t have to worry about it snapping. It’s also a very sustainable wood. For me it ticks every box.
He is also a fan of acrylic and regularly works with felt, cardboard and paper. He has trialled some of these materials for home wares, which is something he’s thinking of designing more of in the future. At this stage, however, the focus is on making high quality jewellery products that do not rely heavily on prototyping.
I’m terrified of producing something that in a few years I’ll look back at and cringe. Because of that I have a remarkable number of prototypes lying around my house that I may never do anything with.
Paul has been a Personal Factory Prime member for a while, and for him it means creating to his heart’s content (time permitting) without requiring the capital for traditional fabrication methods that rely on economy of scale. His hometown Canberra is a city of public servants and not manufacturers, and most of his ideas remained in a digitally modelled format until the day he uploaded his first file into the Personal Factory.
More from Paul after the cut: