Tropism: Commonwealth vs. Joshua Davis


Tropism: Commonwealth vs. Joshua Davis

Design studio Commonwealth and digital artist Joshua Davis have come together for a new exhibition in New York that combines stereolithography, porcelain and graphic design.


Called Tropism: Commonwealth vs. Joshua Davis, the show features porcelain vases by Commonwealth decorated by a series of patterns created by Davis.


The vases were cast from stereolithographic originals, produced by making 3D prints of digitally designed forms.


Curated by Maxalot, the show also features large-format prints of Davis' digitally generated Tropism patterns.


New York-based Commonwealth consists of husband and wife team Zoë Coombes and David Boera.


The show is at Espeis Gallery in Williamsburg, New York City, until July 22nd.


Below is a press release about the exhibition:


'Tropism: Commonwealth vs. Joshua Davis'.

For 'Tropism', colors and shapes are ripped from nature and translated into controlled digital media. Reflecting the endless mutation of plant species in the natural world, two elements make up the body of the exhibition: generative graphics by Joshua Davis and future-crafted products, by Commonwealth.


Working with software originally developed for the animation industry, Commonwealth designed the form of the vase. In order to materialize the object directly from the digital model, stereolithographic printing was used. Stereolithography, or (SLA printing) is a process whereby dimensional, digital models are produced in plastics.


Translating the coordinates described by Commonwealth's model, the stereolithographic printer, laser-cured the form within a bath of liquid resin. The resulting product, a form made of cured resin, would be used as the positive for casting the porcelain finals.


In the workshops of Boehm Porcelain, a historic manufacturer of fine porcelain, the photopolymer resin positive was cast into a delicate vase, rendering the original digital model into a natural, material object.


For the vase's surface detailing, Joshua Davis deployed his signature practice of dynamic abstraction, and generated artwork to be grafted on to the vase through a process of color transfer. Each vase received a unique Davis graphic that conforms to Commonwealth's porcelain topological surface. This collaborative process results in spectacular renditions of unique graphic-meets-product designs which combine organic creativity with digital manufacturing processes.


Forming the saturated picture plane above the vases, are six large-scale prints by Joshua Davis and on the facing wall a series of frozen representations generated from the Tropism graphic bundle. Viewed together, these works form a botanic gradient of art running seamlessly from vase, to flower, to print.


Tropism is the third in a series of five exhibitions curated by Maxalot at the Espeis Gallery exploring new territories in the emerging field of design-as-art.




  • Mariano

    this guys (both Joshua and commonwealth) have amazing body of work!, that was a really nice collaborative project, im jealous of anyone who’s close to the big apple and have and will apreciate the exhibition…

  • Lucia

    Great work. Good to see the further exploration/bluring of the line between digital and built work. The commonwealth Vs Series has hit a new high with this one! I can’t wait to see what’s next. This reminds me of a time when DJ’s in the late 80’s/early 90’s bought the Roland 303/909 and experimented with it in ways it was not meant to be used, forever changing the music industry. Commonwealth seems to be on the same path to changing the design and architecture environment.

  • Irina

    Never saw anything like this before – feels like anatomy and darth vader if I can describe my emotions with those banal words. Sharp and absolutely amazing. Congratulations to Commonwealth and Joshua Davis! ..p.s.: have you ever been to Japan ;)

  • Stereolithography

    This is Fantastic! It is truly amazing to see the way people use digital manufacturing methods to produce interesting works of art. The innovation when combining these technologies techniques is inspirational. Thanks for an interesting read!

  • Malcom F.

    I think the premise of this artistic connection says a lot about technique, art concepts and technological beauty today.

    This is one of the most under reported stories of the year. Good on you Marcus for catching it.

  • harriet white

    This project is awesome. I want my life to feel like this!! Come to BErlin.

  • Phoenixproto

    It really is wonderful to see beautiful design truly as artwork. So often we see designs that don’t get the recognition they deserve. Bravo!