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GeMo 3D-Printed Vases

Mutant variations in an algorithm lead to subtle alterations for producing an army of vases

by CH Contributor in Design on 14 July 2014

By Paul Armstrong

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When first seeing GeMo for the first time, it's difficult to not be intrigued: there is a purity to the vase design, but there’s something wrong. They aren’t all the same—similar, but not the same. GeMo (derived from "genetically modified") is a Kickstarter project from London-based architectural designers Mehran Gharleghi and Amin Sadeghy, who will be creating an army of multi-textured GeMos for display in a London museum later this year.

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Made from ceramics, metal, resin and plastic, each design is unique but, as with all GeMo, there can be issues—specifically the virus-like algorithm that is used to create new models. Sometimes there is dissent in the ranks: "Not every design can be born due to self-intersection or bad location of the center of gravity. We call them the mutants of our army," Gharleghi explains to CH.

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Despite the mutants, Gharleghi believes algorithmic production has a large part to play in the future of 3D printing, "We wanted to create a unique yet practical object. We are showcasing one of the major impacts that 3D printing can have: to make one-of-a-kind design affordable and accessible to the end user."

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The pair initially focused on crafting a novel artifact that was "culturally rooted." This led them to utilize the humble octagon for the base shape (which is abundant in art and design across many different cultures, especially in the Middle East) before using additional symmetry, rotation, repetition and smoothening instructions (or "genes" as Gharleghi calls them) to create the final algorithm which then alters the magnitude of each instruction so a diverse range of geometries emerge. The whole process is very similar to how genetic modification happens in nature.

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With the Kickstarter project fully funded, each soldier will be given to its creator after the gallery showing during this year's London Design Week—although three soldiers will forever remain a secret as these are being given to a special family. Creators will also receive a unique ID card for each GeMo and a "birth certificate" with details of the parents. The pair is in the midst of creating a GeMo genealogy site for parents and new parents.

Images courtesy of Mehran Gharleghi and Amin Sadeghy

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