From now on spectators become designers:
Three stories behind ShapeDiver
It all started with an idea for a bookshelf. Inspired by an architectural project I came up with a concept design, modeled it in 3d to convince myself, made shop drawings, and got it manufactured. When the parts arrived and I finally mounted it I loved it. My friends and family loved it, too. As a consequence I tried to sell the concept to design shops. That failed miserably. Photos and drawings were just not convincing enough. Too static to capture the flexibility of my idea, which allows customization in many different ways. It became clear to me that I needed a different way of showing my design to others – something that would let every one of them explore this idea in all its dimensions. And once they found a setup they liked, why shouldn’t they be able to order a “copy” from a local carpenter?
My bookshelf experience became one of the main drivers of founding ShapeDiver. One of the things we would love to see it become is a tool that helps shape a future where design becomes global and manufacturing local. Where designers don’t need a big distributor to get their dynamic designs to their customers. Where I can sell my bookshelf to someone in Japan without wasting a thought on shipping.
We’re not there yet, we’re just getting started. For now we provide a safe harbour for parametric models and an online window for everyone to interact with them. So jump in, dive with us and we will explore the possibilities of this sea of parametric 3d together.
A while ago, I was involved in discussions about a new online exchange platform for 3dprintable design. At some point a colleague mentioned how he would like to let users adapt the size, color and material of the objects. Thinking about this, it occurred to me that there was a lot more potential behind this idea. Instead of letting users only scratch the surface of a design, there should be a way of empowering them to play a much more meaningful role in determining the final shape and character of their printable objects. By combining a technology that allows designers to be creative in many more than just three dimensions – parametric design – and a tool that nearly anyone can use without additional training or expenses – a simple web browser – one could try and fundamentally change the way we think about and interact with 3d design, far beyond printable objects.
Great works of art, even if they express the unique style and mastery of their creator, often manage to be very different things to different people. They capture our imagination. At ShapeDiver, we believe in taking this notion one step further: We believe in design that can be physically different and unique and open to the imagination of anyone who interacts with it – while always remaining an expression of the style and ingenuity of its creator.
And here it is, a simple idea brought to life and ready to make its way into the world of design! We all learned a lot in the process, and while local manufacturing and 3d printing are both exciting applications of ShapeDiver, we soon realized we had stumbled onto something bigger.
Design lives in many dimensions, outside of the space that gives it flesh and bone. Taking a peek at the creation process? Exploring the design space? Getting lost in a dimension that was never even fully explored by its own designer? ShapeDiver is an open door to a new relationship between creators, design enthusiasts and pieces of art. We can’t wait to witness the birth of new ways of collaboration, communication and expression. This is a place where design isn’t yet tamed, tied to a material existence. Here the lines are fluid, the shapes are still breathing. Those shapes bear the talent of their creators, but they leave room for your own. As if a little piece of the process was shared with everyone.