Join Dave Schultze for an in-depth discussion in this video 3D exploration with organic forms, part of Design Foundation 3D: Shape and Form.
- We now progress from 3D forms that can be drawn with a ruler and compass, to the exact opposite, organic shapes, where you never see a straight line. Organic forms were very common in pottery and ceramics, but didn't appear nearly as often in consumer products and architecture until 3D software and technology finally made it easier and more accessible. Think of a rounded river rock and that's a good start. A very simple form, almost peaceful or Zen-like. For an example with more energy, let's go to the animation.
Now we're seeing organic forms made with deformed 2D geometry like these series of straight lines that have been warped. I find the motion and beauty of these abstract images a great way to get creative juices flowing. In environmental site sculpture, my favorite example by far is Anish Kappor's Cloud Gate project in Chicago. Finished in 2006, this was his first outdoor work in the United States. I've been there several times and it is stunning and engaging on many levels.
Depending on your viewing angle and the lighting, you can enjoy the sculptural and pure bean-like shape where the amazingly distorted and reflective environment were are magical mixture of the two. Painter and sculptor Alexander Calder used organic forms throughout his work. His project for a theater was called Acoustic Clouds and was installed in 1952. It is a near perfed example of the balance between a dynamic aesthetic, pure function, and a design solution that exactly fits the environment.
Of course, most people know Calder for his mobiles and kinetic sculptures. For me, these animated sculptures succeed in ways not possible in the flat world of 2D and painting. You can see that most of the shapes are still 2D, but are suspended in three-dimensional space. They use bright colors and are dynamically moving. If you want to get extra nerdy, you could even say that his work occupies three dimensions plus the extra dimension of time. In current furniture, we have Marc Newson's Lockhead Lounge.
It's a vintage aircraft, it meets free flowing chillaxing lounge chair. Its comfort maybe questionable but the form is very compelling and original. Only 15 were built but in 2015, one sold at auction to an anonymous buying for over $3,000,000. This really makes me want to finish that concept project I've been working on for way too long. Also in furniture we have Ross Lovegrove's Go Chair. Here we see the organic forms more visibly expressed as part of the functioning structural support.
This fluid and organic beauty is slightly more affordable at only $1,400 available from your local furniture retailer. It is also stackable but only up to three. I'm not kidding, just three. Since organic forms are often described as being streamlined and aerodynamic, we should mention car design. The Porsche 550 Spyder looks like it's already moving even when parked. Or does it look like it's crouched and ready to jump? Produced from 1953 to 1956, it was originally designed for racing.
It was actually a very successful racer in its day and another fun fact, the 550 is among the most frequently reproduced classic cars. This theme of longevity will be revisited a few more times in the course. But the premise is simple. Does the design last? More on that later. In architecture, one of the masters of organic and fluid forms is Zaha Hadid. This is her Heydar Aliyev Center located in Baku, Azerbaijan. The flowing curves and wavelike forms move from the ground to the roof in a beautiful and seamless transition.
I was initially concerned that the building to be overrun by skateboarders, but that fortunately never happened. We have looked at designer sketches, but this time, let's check out some of the construction photos. It's fascinating to see that simplicity of the file exterior forms are supported by some very complex and detailed engineering. Many designers will tell you its far more difficult to pull off a successful design with fewer details as opposed to just adding more and more. Organic shapes may have originally been inspired by nature, but it takes human creativity and sometimes advanced technology to execute these dynamic and inspiring designs.
First, see how the same idea can be applied in a smaller 2D scale—like graphics and print, fine art, and advertising. Dave then blows it up in 3D, and showcases examples from product design, furniture, architecture, and urban planning.
Projects and concepts are presented in an engaging and sometimes irreverent manner with images, videos, and personal and professional stories from Dave. Check out this fast-paced tour as it covers topics ranging from grids and axes to designing with humor.
- Design exploration with sketching
- 3D exploration with organic forms
- Grids and axes
- Defining space
- Color and contrast
- Texture and patterns
- Minimalism. Less is more.
- Retro. It's back!