Perhaps you’re chillin’ in the eclectic abode of Shanghainese family of brush-tailed porcupines wondering where they curate their wonderful assortment of furniture and lighting. Perhaps the conversation leads to the discussion of computers, generative design and applying moisturizer in hard-to-reach places. With such discussions of computers and design, there’s likely one person’s name to pop into the conversation–Zhang Zhoujie. Zhang is a designer from Shanghai with the ability to bend thin sheets of metal with his mind… and then make it happen with some software, hand tools and 1.5mm stainless steel sheets.
The Digital Vessel is a new project on IndieGoGo in collaboration with BUNDSHOP, an online marketplace that features Chinese designers and their products. To some, Zhang’s bent, geometric vessels may look like your garden-variety fruit bowls. To us, it’s a beautiful mix of digital and handmade design you can spend an afternoon admiring or attempting to make yourself. Developing hundreds of version, Zhang went through the process of sketching, cutting, folding and shaping to develop a handful of vessels that could be bent and freed from their flat panel form.
Prior to beginning a vessel design, Zhang approaches the process with the idea of treating the computer as a designer, rather than a tool… Hmmm, forget for a moment that this opens a whole new market for fashion-savvy computer hardware–half-tower turtlenecks, horn-rimmed webcam glasses, and on–as Zhang is on a mission to find the true beauty of digital objects. It’s through the process that he may have come upon it with a unique mix of generative design and metal shaping skill.
What has been reinforced for me through the creation of the digital vessel is that it’s less about the product and more about process. Of course it’s really amazing for something beautiful to come out, it’s even more amazing because you discovered a logical way to make the first object, you can make so many more just as beautiful.
Many more indeed Zhang, many more indeed. The perks for supporting the Digital Vessel project are just as unique as the items themselves. For $50, you can purchase a flat, unfolded version of a vessel. For $120 you get a limited edition vessel. And remember, since this is through Indiegogo, you still get the perk you chose even if it doesn’t get completely funded. If you miss the offer through Indiegogo, you can also find Zhang’s work on Bundshop with two version of the digital vessel available for purchase.