Fabricademy: Week 6: Computational Couture

Fabricademy: Week 6: Computational Couture

Our tutor this week was Aldo Sollazzo who is a computational expert, Head of IAAC Visiting Programmes  and director and coordinator of RESHAPE – a digital craft community and a platform for the development and implementation of innovative ideas from the world of digital design and fabrication.

Computational Couture

Disciplines as programming and electronics become highly interconnected, blurring old boundaries and merging different fields of knowledge. Fashion has been already affected by this radical change. Therefore, clothes, shoes and other accessories can now incorporate elements of hardware and software, generating a peculiar mix between fashion and computation that is incredibly fertile and inspiring. Data becomes Beauty, Interaction becomes Emotion. As a result, a new aesthetic is emerging. In this class participants will explore computational design methods towards a new reinterpretation of cloths, garments and accessories for fashion design, inspired by a new digital design methodology.


Assignment 1

Develop or use an existing parametric model in order to design and rapid prototype your geometries using a digital fabrication method of your choice.

Our projects will be evaluated on

  • if we can build a parametric model using Grasshopper3D
  • if we have 3D printed a model
  • if we have tried a combination of the techniques presented

We have the option to 3D print an interlocking design or  3D print directly onto fabric.

Assignment 1

Part 1: The Install & following tutorials

I think one of the toughest things about this project has been installing the software! In the Barcelona Textiles FabLab, we all have different brand computers (PCs or Macs) and we all have different operating systems… so getting Rhino3D & then Grasshopper installed was just amazing when it finally happened!

Once this happened, I was ready to start following the tutorials from the lectures.

I had previously been using Inkscape for my illustrating project for our Week 3: Circular Open Source fashion project, but now with Rhino I managed to really get this super clean. Combining this continuation of the learning process with learning the Grasshopper application really helped. Tessellation geek out.

I loved immediately took to the visual aspect off the program as it is like software beading, just with each bead having a different purpose of function. Once you turn on the icon function and start to understand what each piece does, it makes so much more sense. Here are a few screenshots of me working through the first tutorial (so to anyone who has been reading, I may start making sense!)

Gallery of Tutorial 1

  1. Placing 5 points
    • Drawing a curved line through points: changing the degree of the line which created different curves.
    • Selecting a point on Rhino and setting that point and connecting it on Rhino.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tutorials 2 & 3

The second and 3rd tutorials were much shorter, but they really helped us to see how we could create something which would be appreciated on many levels.

These took us through some techniques and processes used by other designers of wearable 3D printed fabrics, showing with just a few steps the fantastic visual effects could be created. I did get an A in my GCSE Maths and I will tell you my old geometry and physics skills were very much tuned into for this project.


Gallery of Tutorial 2 & 3

  1. Creating an array of points
  2. Setting 2 points on Rhino and connecting them on Grasshopper; these act like magnetic fields and change the direction and therefore pattern of the surrounding points to create a design which can be changed and edited.
  • During this week of working with the functions on Grasshopper was really interesting to look at the possibilities of what could be created.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Part 2: Interlocking my ideas

I always like to start with finding inspiration from my surroundings; one thing that jumped out at me immediately were the clasps that are used in jewellery as there are repeated and quite often mass produced in a way that they are uniform. Perfect for 3D printing possibly.

I recalled an upcycle project I did whilst I was on my BA Textile Design, which interlocked metal clasps to create a long chain that moved fluidly and could change direction.

Photos of my necklace & jewellery clasps

I also have always seen patterns in things and so on my walks around Barcelona, you start to look at the doorways, balconies & shop shutters. The photo below is of the close up and far away details of my favourite shutter.

I looked at both of these and tried to see about combining them, so after a few initial sketches, I went on to try these shapes out in 3D using air-drying clay. This was one of the recommended steps we could take by our tutor to really see how a form could fit into one another, plus its also step or plane up from using paper.

Photos of sketch-ideas and clay pieces

Part 3: Drawing on Rhino 

I wanted to begin using the Rhino 3D program to test out some of my shapes that I had drawn and created in clay. I started first with the honeycomb-like shape as seen in the shutter. I first created a polyline and then extruded, copied and mirrored it to eventually create a repeat pattern. I would like to try this in grasshopper and watch some more tutorials as I dont yet know how to create a thicker shape. I would also like to create a curvy version.

I then went onto looking at how I could create my interlocking metal shape. This was very difficult and I’m not very happy with the results, but I can see that they would show what I’m trying to create and I can ask for more help on this from my tutor as we go forward.

I think in the future I would like to experiment more with that Grasshopper would help with the creation of a more curvier shape and possibly how the pieces interlock.

At this stage I felt I could not integrate my Rhino ideas into Grasshopper after just one week of the topic and assignment.


Part 4: 3D printing a design

At the stage of the assignment hand in, I was not content with the level of skills I had at the time and I felt it would be unethical to print a design which was not going to work and would waste the filament as a resource.

So I would like to return to this subject when have a  design I’m happy with!

A follow up post to will be added and how I’ve later developed this concept.

Post link for: Printing interlocking circles at different angles

Post assignment projects using Rhino

Modular Box

Printing onto fabric

More experiments with Rhino

More Tutorials



Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: