Details from the Commonwealth

Earlier today I received an email from Zoe over at Commonwealth. Recall that I’d previously mentioned their latest show, Tropism: Commonwealth vs. Joshua Davis, in a related post (reLink). For images of the show, you can surf over to their online gallery (Link), but in addition, for anyone interested in limited batch production techniques and the way they were using modern rapid-prototyping tools to assist in the production of their pieces, here’s something Zoe passed along that’s well worth reading (I’ll dispense with the blockquote tags):

“Commonwealth’s design of the Tropism vase began by drawing influence from turn-of-the-century ceramic techniques of Edmond Lachenal. Lachenal was experimental in his use of perforated surfaces made through the combination of isomorphic geometries. Reciprocally, using 21st century tools and processes, Commonwealth’s model began as a cylinder primitive in Maya (a software originally built for the animation industry) and evolved into a perforated subdivision surface printed in stereolithographic resin.”

“The Stereolithographic model (SLA print) then became the original which was taken to Boehm Porcelain, a historic porcelain workshop, for making a final porcelain vase. Only a single mastermould was made- one which will naturally expire after 21 uses, and hence production is limited to an edition of 21. ”

“Joshua Davis wrote the programs which generated the graphic paint fired directly into the vases at Boehm Porcelain. With porcelain glazes, different colors fire at different temperatures. Following this constraint, the paint scheme was based on variations of one color: one vase holds a range of greens, another a range of yellows etc.”

“From a family of 21 vases cast from the same finite mould, each one possesses a unique paint-based graphic meaning; no two are the same.”

“Tropism: Commonwealth vs. Joshua Davis. This is the third in a series of exhibitions that explore digital mediums of collaborative design and most importantly, materialization. Curated by Maxalot, it is now on view at Espeis Gallery until July 22nd.”


“The exhibition text from the gallery wall is as follows:

Tropism: Commonwealth vs. Joshua Davis

For ‘Tropism’, colors and shapes are ripped from nature and translated into controlled digital media. Reflecting the endless mutation of plant species in the natural world, two elements make up the body of the exhibition: generative graphics by Joshua Davis and future-crafted products, by Commonwealth.”

“Working with software originally developed for the animation industry, Commonwealth designed the form of the vase. In order to materialize the object directly from the digital model, stereolithographic printing was used. Stereolithography, or (SLA printing) is a process whereby dimensional, digital models are produced in plastics.”

“Translating the coordinates described by Commonwealth’s model, the Stereolithographic printer, laser-cured the form within a bath of liquid resin. The resulting product, a form made of cured resin, would be used as the positive for casting the porcelain finals.”

“In the workshops of Boehm Porcelain, a historic manufacturer of fine porcelain, the photopolymer resin positive was cast into a delicate vase, rendering the original digital model into a natural, material object. For the vase’s surface detailing, Joshua Davis deployed his signature practice of dynamic abstraction, and generated artwork to be grafted on to the vase through a process of color transfer. Each vase received a unique Davis graphic that conforms to Commonwealth’s porcelain topological surface. This collaborative process results in spectacular renditions of unique graphic-meets-product designs which combine organic creativity with digital manufacturing processes.”

“Forming the saturated picture plane above the vases, are six large-scale prints by Joshua Davis and on the facing wall a series of frozen representations generated from the Tropism graphic bundle. Viewed together, these works form a botanic gradient of art running seamlessly from vase, to flower, to print.”

“Tropism, is the third in a series of five exhibitions curated by Maxalot at the Espeis Gallery exploring new territories in the emerging field of design-as-art.”

Graphic Design: Joshua Davis
Product Design Studio: Commonwealth
Curator: Maxalot
Gallery: Espeis Gallery

And for anyone interested, prints can be purchased on the Maxalot website.

The only thing I don’t quite get is the “perforated” SubD model. When I hear “perforated”, I think multiple small holes. Hopefully Zoe can elaborate on that for us. It may just mean the openings on either side of the form.

3 thoughts on “Details from the Commonwealth

  1. Csven- Previously, you posted a link to an image of a table we have designed, asking about modeling techniques, and influences. We received so many emails as a result,mainly asking fairly technical questions about the origins and methods involved in our work.

    I forwarded you the above texts, knowing that they are dense with information, but hoping that they may quench some of your reader’s curiosity. We enjoy the questions, so thank you for beginning the discussion.

    Very simply: yes, when we said “perforated surface” we were referring to the fact that we are building vases with more than one aperture, which is atypical for a vase.

    We have a new series of work in production where the multi-aperture concept is becoming even more central- stay tuned! + Thanks for ReBanging..

  2. Thanks. I suspected as much, but wasn’t a 100% sure.

    I look forward to seeing the new series and, hopefully, some additional behind-the-scenes photos.

Comments are closed.