Jerrod Windham, MID, BID
Associate Professor of Industrial Design, School of Industrial & Graphic Design
The core concept underlying the two exhibited works is that, with the right approach, certain products can be designed anywhere around the globe, customized by the end user, and fabricated locally. This approach lies at the intersection of two personal academic research interests: 1) emerging technology in digital fabrication and 2) strategies that minimize the negative environmental impact of consumer products.
Technology: Parametric design software, paired with digital fabrication tools enable designers to create customizable product platforms rather than single, mass-produced products. Variables, or parameters, can be established during the creation of a digital model that enable easy manipulation of the digital output. The dimensions of this chair, as an example, can be altered simply by plugging different numbers for seat height and width into a spreadsheet-like table, thus changing the output drawings in the form of a code. This code is used by computer-controlled, digital fabrication equipment, such as CNC routers or 3D printers. The fabrication tools are standardized to the extent that the code can be distributed digitally across the globe enabling localized production.
Environmentally Sustainable Strategies: Customization, not only helps products meet the unique needs of individuals, it also empowering users to participate in the creative process, leading to a potential increase in emotional durability. Emotional durability contributes to the longevity of a product, minimizing the need or desire for replacement. Additionally, Local production can play a role in minimizing the environmental impact associated with distribution and transportation. Each piece is produced on-demand, circumventing traditional models of mass production and eliminating the waste associated with excess inventory.