Morphocyte builds on Wonderlab’s research on cellular division, by simulating biological processes such as morphogenesis or cancer cell growth, and using its differentiating power to create an unseen, intricate and heterogeneous design vocabulary.
Morphocyte generates fresh phenomena, through the relationship of physics, aesthetics and perception. Under the umbrella of awe and wonder, we looked at how physics affect perception. Our initial reference was Richard Serra’s work Torqued Ellipses (Govan et al. 1997). Like much of his work this piece emphasises the fabrication process and nature of materials, as well as the counter-intuitive effects the work has on the viewer; seemingly defying gravity and logic, it creates surprising experiences that are out of balance and affect the viewer’s behaviour, generating physical and phenomenological sensations where the body is accelerating and decelerating as it explores Serra’s labyrinths of torqued metal. In addition to changes in resolution, additional inflections were designed into the code, to produce local directional biases, amplifying “pull” in one direction versus the other.
Morphocyte used this work as its starting point of inspiration, and tried to accelerate such spatial effect by working with extreme resolution—designing highly articulated deep surface textures that amplify a sense of gravitational pull through the space. Specifically, this project was targeted towards 3D printing of fibre-reinforced concrete. It used cellular division to introduce biology’s high-resolution aesthetics into the traditionally low-resolution monumentalism of concrete; and also to develop heightened performance for the 3D-printed concrete structures, by introducing a high-resolution porosity that could be achieved through 3D printing. By doing this it saves both material and printing time, while increasing the strength and decreasing the weight of such concrete structures.