Operating at the intersection of technology and biology, designer Neri Oxman and her team are calling for a systemic change in the way we design the built environment, evolving from consuming Nature to augmenting her. Top-down form generation coupled with bottom-up growth of biological systems creates previously impossible opportunities for design that challenge how buildings and products are made and how they perform.
Examples include single material photosynthetic building façades that act, at once, as filter and barrier converting carbon into biofuel; wearable microbiomes that nourish our skin through selective filtration; and 3D-printed matter that repairs damaged tissue.
By pairing the creation of bespoke technologies for digital construction with critical design and real-world applications, Oxman continues to radically rethink how we can design and build in the bio-digital age. Her approach leverages scale and resolution to design and construct structures that seamlessly vary their physical properties at scales that match the environments they were designed to inhabit. Rigidity, color, transparency, conductivity—even smell and taste—can be individually tuned for each 3D pixel of a physical object. The generation of products and buildings is therefore no longer limited to assemblages of discrete parts with homogeneous properties. Rather, objects, like organs, can be computationally ‘grown’ and additively manufactured to create heterogeneous and multifunctional constructs.
An exhibition featuring the work of Oxman and her team will be on view at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, February 22 - May 25, 2020. For more information, please visit moma.org
About Neri Oxman
A multi-disciplinary designer, Oxman founded The Mediated Matter Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010 where she pioneered the field of Material Ecology, fusing technology and biology to deliver designs that align with principles of ecological sustainability. Oxman became a tenured professor at MIT in 2017.
Oxman received her PhD in Design Computation at MIT in 2010. Prior to that, she earned a diploma (ARB/RIBA Part 2) from the Architectural Association in London, complementing her studies at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and training at the Department of Medical Sciences at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Oxman was an architect, research consultant, and Parametric Design Workshop Instructor at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates in London from 2004-05, during which she also served as Visiting Associate and Evaluator for SmartGeometry Group.
In addition to over 150 scientific publications and inventions, Oxman’s work is included in the permanent collections of leading museums around the world including MoMA, SFMOMA, Centre Pompidou, MAK Museum of Applied Arts, FRAC Collection for Art and Architecture, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, among others. Her innovations have received recognition at the World Economic Forum, where she was named a Cultural Leader in 2016 and is a member of the Expert Network. In 2018, Oxman was honored with the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and the London Design Innovation Medal. Most recently in 2019, Oxman received an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Contemporary Vision Award by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.