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Synthetic Nature is a collection of prototypes born through holistic architectural design research into the genesis of form and space. The self-organization of matter, conservation of energy, equilibrium and notions of minimal complexity are concepts that drive the creative process – a symbiotic mix of design, art and science. The analogy with the molecular behavior of soap bubbles informs the research, which involves nature-inspired algorithms, mathematical relationships and geometrical constraints. Focusing on periodic minimal surfaces, the design process challenges the concepts of multi-dimensional symmetry and repetition, creating modular continuous surfaces that are infinitely expandable.

The paradoxical character of Synthetic Nature is emerging from the computational side of the design process as well as the artificial materiality of the generated prototypes. Following the biological model taxonomy, the collection challenges the notion of artifact through creating a series of morphological design species. This research explores new spatial qualities, material effects and volumetric intricacy through continuous surface geometries, repetition of cellular components and skin topology systems. The resulting prototypes open-up several opportunities at various scales in architecture, product and fashion design.

“Synthetic Nature is an instance of my explorative research into spatiality, scale and materiality; all with deep roots in my architectural background. The work has transcended those levels by creating artifacts that are interpretable and adaptable to anything from jewellery, fashion, product design and interiors, architecture to fine art. Algorithmic and geometrical concepts generate surface to volume morphologies that are blurring the boundaries between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, between ‘solid’ and ‘transparent’ or between ‘natural’ and ‘synthetic’ – blended into abstract hybrid species.” Vlad Tenu

Vlad Tenu is a Romanian architect based in London. His design research focuses on the integration of computation, science and technology in the creative process involving generative algorithms, digital fabrication techniques and interactive design. His project – Minimal Complexity, winner of the Tex-Fab REPEAT 2010 competition, was exhibited at the London Festival of Architecture 2012 and the London Design Festival 2012, as part of the International Architecture and Design Showcase 2012. Minimal Complexity has been awarded an AIA Houston Design Award for ‘Divine Detail’ in March 2012. His professional experience covers a wide range of projects, having previously worked with Surface Architects and currently with AHMM. Vlad teaches at the Bartlett School of Architecture on the MSc. Adaptive Architecture & Computation. He has also lectured at the Architectural Association, the G.D. Hines College of Architecture in Houston and Cooper Union in New York as part of ACADIA 2010 Conference.

photos: Hektor Kowalski

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