Love patterns? Working them into your design? How about blanketing algorithm-driven, parametric geometry across the screen or printing it out for use as a light shade that both baffles and amazes the mind? If you’ve ever wondered how some people model those amazing patterned designs or intricate, randomized detail of a 3D printed structure, look no further. Modelab is delivering the knowledge and with it, a mix of workshops and webinars that have a good dose of intros to generative modeling and a look into more advanced uses.

The Low Down on Generative Modeling

Modelab covers an array of patterning techniques using different hardware and software to experiment in generative modeling. Generative modeling is simply a way to drive geometry with a series of calculation. A graphical, no-scripting-knowledge-required means of doing this is through Rhino and the node-based editor used to define the geometry called Grasshopper.

Image: Reza

Image: Navneet

Modelab was born out of StudioLab, a Brooklyn-based design studio that’s seated in the experimental, research-driven aspects of the design process and the tools used in that process. Modelab brings that to you and is the first fablab, I can think of, that focuses on a specific design philosophy and tool set within the context of iterative design. This goes along with their idea of an ‘open-laboratory’, that can be as generative as a model forming from the depths of a curved-based attractor array, with workshops being held at different design studios around the world.

They put on frequent webinars and workshops, the most recent of which was an introduction to Dynamic Patterning and 3D Printing. You can see all the past modelab workshop here and get a good idea of what goes on at such things on their Flickr page, showing past workshops and other interesting design projects and experiments.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.