This fixture design by Rhode Island School of Design student Colin Westeinde uses copper, glass, and a generative Grasshopper script to consistently produce unique variations rather than exact replicas of his initial lighting design.
During my past semester I found myself questioning the tendencies of machine work and hand craft to excel at fast, perfect replicas and labour intensive individuals respectively. Seeing an opportunity to combine aspects of these general fabrication approaches to different ends, I conceived this pendant design as an adaptable system within specified limitations (such as wiring and hanging structure), but with an overall fluid and variable result achievable without reducing fabrication efficiency when tackling unique forms. The result is a remarkably warm and comfortable process that capitalizes on an easily modifiable parameter while allowing for a system of making that produces unique yet formally related results.
In a multi-step process which begins in the computer, a heuristic model of the faceted vessel form is used to create a unique iteration of the pendant’s water jet cut copper shell. This rational shell is then transformed through the introduction of a smoke gray glass bubble. As the molten glass and copper interact they form a single object; the glass reacting to the shape it is expanded within and the copper adopting a natural heat patina and weakening under the intense heat of the glass to the point that it moves and responds simultaneously, resulting in an object that is more than just the sum of its parts. The pendant body is generally 8-12” in diameter and 10-14” in height, each iteration controllable enough in the copper and blowing stages that a general shape can be anticipated. However, the interest lies in how the glass and copper will respond to one another in the heat of the moment each time as new shapes interact.