A Cool Contraption Generates Earthenware Using A Catenary Arch

A Cool Contraption Generates Earthenware Using a Catenary Arch

The craft of making ceramics is often thought of as a hands-on affair (thanks Demi and Patrick). But this device puts a new spin — or pour, really — on the process.

A Cool Contraption Generates Earthenware Using a Catenary Arch

Great Things to People, a Santiago, Chile-based creative studio, developed the Catenary Pottery Printer (CPP) to produce earthenware using an organic process. Its wooden frame supports a swath of fabric attached to a selection of hooks from above, forming a catenary arch — the same basic method used by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí to create his soaring archways.

The fabric is then slowly filled with slurry — using either porcelain, ceramic, or gres. As that dries from the outside in, the liquid excess is syringed from the middle, leaving just a thin layer of clay on the fabric. Then, it's left to dry — forming the rough shape of a bowl.

Depending on the arrangement of the anchor points, type of textile, and kind of mixture used, a near infinite variety of unique forms can be made. The whole concept is a prime example of parametric (or generative) design — establishing predetermined factors, then allowing for real-time interactions and disruptions to dictate the final outcome, rather than working to realise a singular result.

While digital software is usually used to set the standard when it comes to generative design, CPP shows that there's still a lot of potential for a more analogue approach. [Yatzer]

Pictures: Victor Imperiale

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