Kuma Words 10

Kuma Words 10

Professor Mario Carpo of London’s Bartlett School is drawing attention from the world for his research into the similarities between computational design and the design before the age of industrialization. We recently had dinner together at a restaurant in London called Sakeno-Hana, designed by KKAA, to discuss the future of architecture and design. The interior of Sakeno-Hana is made with small units of wood and bamboo, typically produced through computational design. Mediating between those particles and computers, however, is the craftsmanship of wood-joinery which has developed in the time between the distant past and today. We talked at great length about this – stressing that with the rough engineering of the 21st century alone we couldn’t have achieved the rich and complex structures that we see today.

I thought perhaps Mario’s sharp insight was nurtured by his research on Renaissance architecture, which includes the architect Leon Battista Alberti. Mario categorizes the age of digital design into two groups; ‘first’ and ‘second’ generations. Those belonging to the first generation were worshippers of “curves,” which reflected an appreciation for streamlined shapes during the industrialized society. The second generation, however was liberated from it. Around the time that the first generation was beginning, I returned from my year at Columbia University. Feeling awkward about the trend, I was drawn more to particleization, for which KKAA is now well-known. Through my discussion with Mario, I could well understand the path of my own design.