In Search of the Perfect Chair

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Can we apply genetic engineering to inanimate objects?

Designer Jan Habraken and his team at Formnation have developed an innovative application of genetics to product design. Utilizing the same underlying theories of cross breeding applied to livestock and agriculture, Habraken and his associates are exploring the possibility of genetically engineering ‘perfect chairs’. They have started out by ascribing and quantifying desirable, genetic traits to different models of chairs. Characteristics such as ergonomics, cost, durability, construction and — most difficult of all — aesthetics, have been assigned values between 1 and 10 based on the firm’s own opinions and preferences of the general public (generated by Yahoo and Google rankings).

Collaborating with volumetric 3D modeling and morphing specialist Mathieu Sanchez of Uformia, they have successfully cross bred well-known chairs and 3D printed them, with results and characteristics that have been sometimes bizarre, sometimes beautiful, and definitely unique.

While they may still have a way to go before perfecting the end results, the process itself encourages us to rethink our perceptions of perfect. Can perfection be achieved purely by tinkering with a combination of quantifiable characteristics?

We can ponder this while we stand and wait for the arrival of the Perfect Chair.

Further Reading: 3D Faces Printed from DNA in Discarded Objects

[Top Image: Formnation]


February 8, 2014 | 3 Comments

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