Dr Ian Graham’s pioneering software technology, Evoshape, has stimulated the exploraIon of elegant abstract forms by numerical input. IDT workshops by Graham and Abby Patterson (Research Assistant -John Atkin) quickly established a visually accessible lingua franca that was exploited through the existing technologies and research within LU: addressing traditional and pioneering methods of making and production. Notions of making and production have changed rapidly since the advent of new technologies and the authorship of “producIon- based” artworks has opened up debate that crosses the divide between traditional methods of making and production.

The ability of EvoShape to suggest a range of shapes and then deploy simple methods of breeding families of forms has already demonstrated potenIal within the Design School environment. With the unexpected addition of a new member to our IDT team, Eccles Ng (Pioneers in Practice), the potential to extend this knowledge pool into a wider community that encompassed Landscape Architecture, has potential for future Research & Enterprise initiatives.

EvoShape demands four-digit numerical input that stimulates a range of initial forms based on the sequence of numbers. The user then selects shapes and scores them on a scale of 1 to 10 in order of preference. This process then facilitates a family of forms generated form this selection procedure, which is then refined and developed using the same user-interface until a form(s) is finalised for design or other purposes. 

An example of John Atkin's work on EvoShape, March 2012

An example of John Atkin's work on EvoShape, March 2012

Eccles Ng utilised part of his time with PLUG-IN to develop a strategy for EvoShape that extends its use from design-based products into the Public Realm within the discourse of Landscape Architecture - his own area of expertise.

Undergraduate student, Colette Griffin used EvoShape extensively in her Final Project work, and her findings will be detailed later on in this blog.

In addition Dickens and Graham collaborated on EvoShape to enable a project rooted in learning & teaching with Mechanical Engineering students. Prof Dickens said:

I have been teaching a one week module on Additive Manufacturing to some of our MSc students. As part of this I wanted them to make some objects on some of our machines. I thought they would be more interested in this if they made their own designs. However, amongst the group there is a wide range of experience with CAD (from zero to expert). I therefore, thought EvoShape would be good as it is possible to generate some complex shapes without having any CAD experience”

Interestingly, Dickens’s output also had strong references to contemporary sculpture practice as illustrated in this three-part sculpture by Peter Randall Page: