Dezeen Magazine

Jon McTaggart forms sand bowls using robot-injected resin

These bowls are formed by a robot that injects paths of resin into sand-filled containers, forming solidified objects that are then dug out like ancient artefacts (+ movie).

Artefacts by Jon McTaggart

Israel-based designer Jon McTaggart is presenting his Artefact project at this year's DMY Berlin design festival, which kicked off in the German capital yesterday.

The designer began the project to explore the "meaning of traditional craft in the age of digital design and manufacturing".

"My work is between digital and material," McTaggart told Dezeen. "I do a lot of code work, and bring it into a material world – the manifestation is usually some kind of physical experience."

Artefacts by Jon McTaggart

His starting point was to collect sand from the ground outside his workshop, making sure to leave in all pebbles and stones.

"Each kind of sand and earth is littered with imperfections," he explained. "They capture and symbolise a materialistic moment of time of a given place when used as the base material of the objects."

Artefacts by Jon McTaggart

He began the experimentation by hand, pouring resin over a pyramid of sand and allowing a shape to form as it dripped down the sides.

"For me, that started to speak about parameters, the parameters always changed the final shape," said the designer. "I thought I'd like to explore it in a digital environment."

Artefacts by Jon McTaggart

Working with the Grasshopper parametric design software, McTaggart programmed a script for an industrial Yaskawa robot – more commonly used in the car industry for welding.

"I built a canister with air pressure to pump resin into the sand, which is connected to the end of the robot and moves 20 centimetre beneath the sand surface," he explained. "You can't actually see the piece being made, but the process takes about three minutes per object."

Artefacts by Jon McTaggart

The resin is then left to solidify and the piece is excavated from the sand once it is dry.

"You get connected to the object because you have to dig it out," he said. "Even though I roughly know the shape the object will take, it changes depending on the sand within the bucket."

Artefacts by Jon McTaggart

McTaggart began the project six weeks ago, and has since created 13 objects using the technique. He programmed the robot to form different shapes in the sand, resulting in a varied set of sculptural bowls.

Planning to continue his experimentation of material combinations, the designer believes the technique could eventually be used within the food industry.

Artefacts by Jon McTaggart

McTaggart has previously worked with Christian Ferrera to create a wall-mounted graph that visualised digital data as kinks in a piece of thread.

DMY Berlin continues until 14 June at the city's Kraftwerk Mitte venue, Köpenicker Strasse 70.