The RANDOM PAK Armchair & Sofa (Limited Edition of 10 Pieces, 2006) were presented by designer Marc Newson, for the first time, during his first solo exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in New York (early 2007).
Marc Newson considers the creation of the RANDOM PAK “the ultimate science project” and explains: “This process is obscenely labor-intensive. It takes months and months and months to build each piece, because they are so hard to make and there are so many failures. We’ve put an enormous amount of research into this.” He adds: “It would take almost a day to explain … We grew it in a tank, in an electrolytic bath. It was really almost obnoxious.”
The overall technology that was employed is used extensively in rapid prototyping by the aerospace and automotive industry, with which Marc Newson has become all too familiar through his previous work: “It’s for making shapes that can’t otherwise be fabricated, like complex manifolds for jet engines.” He states: “All the technology that I’m interested in typically filters down from the aerospace industry, most of the time from the military … I’m able to cross-fertilise and that, for me, is what’s really exciting about what I do.”
In fact, the designer has evolved this technology and his studio has developed special advanced software that allows them to built complex objects and replicate otherwise unattainable natural patterns.
Like the characteristic bubble-shaped honeycomb structure of the RANDOM PAK which was achieved through a long process of software and prototyping development that lasted for more than a year (from Digital Modeling and 3D Printing/Laser Sintering to Electroforming and Hand Finishing). According to David Mansueto, a designer in Newson’s studio: “Rapid prototyping was the only way to produce RANDOM PAK: you couldn’t cast it or carve it. The structure is like cells pushed together. As they collide they produce planes in different directions. These planes, which are effectively the edges of the cells meeting, create the complex structure of the chair. That’s what we keep.”
For those interested in seeing the RANDOM PAK from up close, please note that Marc Newson is, currently, exhibiting solo at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (November 23, 2013 – April 20, 2014).
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