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BLECAUTE is a lighting furniture studio created by Pedro and Victor, both born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil.
Pedro Favaretto Martins is 24 years old, born in a small town in São Paulo’s countryside called Sertãozinho. He moved to the big city to graduate in Communication & Media in PUC – São Paulo (2013 – 2017) and later did a one-year Web 3.0 Intensive at Hogeschool van Amsterdam.
Victor Alonso da Silva is 25 years old, born in the suburbs of São Paulo and graduated in Architecture and Urbanism in Universidade Mackenzie – São Paulo (2011-2016) and later did a one-year scholarship in Architecture Master at the Academy of Architecture of the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten.
1. Hi Pedro, Victor, thank you for joining us today! Could you tell us a bit of your background?
Pedro: Sure! I worked as a freelancer Media Producer in EduK and as Events Producer for 2 noted LGBT parties (VHS and Alt+Tab) of São Paulo’s nightlife. Also, apart from Blecaute, I’ve been working on developing automation workflows for businesses, plus I also have packaging, automation, video editing and web development skills.
Victor: I worked as an intern in Cupertino Arquitetura and FutureBrand BC&H, where I also worked as a freelancer architect. Working remotely as a freelancer in architectural visualization besides Blecaute, I have 3D modeling and rendering and visual programming skills.
2. How did this background shape you or guide you towards what you’re doing now professionally:
Victor: Our backgrounds were very crucial for what we do today. I first got to know a CNC Laser, digital fabrication and parametric design during my graduation.
Pedro: I’ve always been heavily interested in technology, so my attention was easily caught when we discussed these topics for the first time. We had mentors throughout our journey from São Paulo to Porto. Back in São Paulo, we’ve been to Garagem FabLab where we got a very informal conversation with Roberto Stelzer who gave us some very good direction on production.
Victor: After we moved to Porto we’ve been mentored by João Feyo at Opo-Lab after we won Made in Baixa by the end of 2017. Now our main mentor at the time is Tauan Bernardo form VivaLab, at Porto Design Factory where Blecaute is being accelerated.
3. Tell us about your Bolhas lamp configurator, what was your main motivation for creating it?
Pedro: It started with an entry for INOVDesign in 2018, a design innovation competition by Fundação Serralves. We had some ideas that we wanted to develop as our next product and this was a perfect moment for that.
Victor: We wanted to create an organic shape instead of the straight edges we’ve worked on our Junta collection. Pedro came up with an idea of a cluster of bubbles together and when developing this idea we realized it was a very good scenario to use Grasshopper as our main tool.
Pedro: When we found about ShapeDiver on internet we got very excited because it was a big confirmation for us that we could achieve our plan for this collection.
4. Describe the creative process you followed when designing it:
Pedro: We usually start with drawings (sometimes ink and paper, sometimes screen and vectors) to make our ideas clear to one another and also writing some keywords if necessary just to certify we’re on the same page. If we’re not, we propose different solutions, analyze, prototype and then put them to test.
Victor: At first we designed a 3D model of spheres colliding just to have a looking feel of the lamp shape, after that we started discussing what the final aspect should be. In this moment our opinions collided as we were attracted to different shapes.
Pedro: It was during that discussion when we first thought about using Grasshopper to develop a morphing shape as the spheres could be juxtapositioned in so many different ways without compromising function or aesthetics. It depended only on our decision, so why not leave this decision for the consumer to make?
Victor: For this solution our work began with the concept, went through designing and programming solutions and ended where the final decision comes. After uploading our configurator to ShapeDiver we’ve tested some S, M and L sizes for manufacturing in different materials such as plywood and acrylic, so we could test weight, shapes and adapt joints.
5. Besides Grasshopper, which tools do you use for product design? Any other parametric tools?
Pedro: The only parametric tool we use now is Grasshopper. We use CAD, 3D modeling tools such as Rhinoceros and some open-source software as Slicer for Fusion 360 for first tests on digital fabrication and Deepnest.io for perfect nesting pieces and saving material.
6. How do you decide how much freedom is left for co-design in your models? Do you design with user-centered parameters in mind?
Victor: It’s our first experience with co-design and we are still learning from it.
Pedro: During the process we set boundaries where the design could get out of control or be miscalculated. We had to set every domain of numbers so we could assure a large range of possibilities while staying consistent and feasible.
Victor: When we first started using ShapeDiver, as free users of the platform, we had to upload a tight and functional Grasshopper file as we had only 5 seconds computational time, it did become a challenge for us throughout the design process. But after we got the PRO account this constraints are much more loose so we do not have that many problems anymore.
Pedro: We personally find it very hard to create a user friendly interface. We had to make lots of changes since the first draft. Aspects like unit scale, parameter names, domain limits and looking feel are important factors to guide the user through the whole experience without any obstacles.
Victor: User experience should be intuitive, fun, clear and fluid, as a minor issue or confusion could hurt people’s enjoyment or trust. For our next creations we want to test different kinds of interaction, customization and manufacturing techniques.
7. That sounds fantastic! Anything else you’d like to add?
Victor: Yes, please go check out our page and our other products!
Pedro: Also, leave us feedback via our Instagram account. We really take this seriously and want to know everyone’s opinion.
That’s it for out 9th episode of Parametric Dreams! Don’t forget to check out BLECAUTE’s social media channels and let them know what you think about their products.
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