'Frozen Fabric'–The Digital Fabrication of Furniture unfolded by Farheen Dossa
Architectural Designer, Furniture Design enthusiast, and now Digital Fabricator–These are the many hats that Melbourne, Australia-based designer Farheen Dossa wears successfully. Farheen's thoughtful and elegant projects and products range from large temporary installations to timber pavilions, to 'Frozen Fabric'–the exquisite coffee table she created this year.
During her Master of Architecture studies at the Melbourne School of Design, Dossa delved into the Digital Fabrication of furniture. The result is 'Frozen Fabric.'
At this time, Farheen is working on iterations of 'Frozen Fabric' in cast concrete.
She writes this article herself today, sharing insights into the process and materiality of her work.
Links to Farheen's work, ISSUU and Instagram pages, can be found at the bottom of this article.
FROZEN FABRIC, By Farheen Dossa
Digital fabrication has many times been perceived to produce flawless results lacking a unique or handcrafted quality. ‘Frozen Fabric’ aimed to challenge this notion by using digital fabrication techniques to create a structure with aesthetic qualities that lie between control and the lack of.
This project was extremely process driven for me, and the final output was entirely dependent on findings from several prototype tests. Casting plaster into a stretchable textured cotton fabric, controlled between CNC routed ply pieces was the chosen process for the explorations.
The resultant casts saw unique aesthetics mimicking the fabric texture, folds, and contours in the desired profile. No two casts were the same, which made this process thrilling.
The design intent was also to convey the honesty and simplicity of the materials and process, so a plaster type called Hydrocal was selected that could mimic the color and texture of the fabric as much as possible, while giving adequate working time before starting to set.
The idea of combining materials and using more than one fabrication technique was something I also explored. Combining wooden reinforcement gave the plaster added structural properties which it alone would not possess. Laser cut MDF placed within CNC routed pockets in the ply template while casting, embedded it into the final cast, highlighting the geometry of the cast at the same time. Finally, to make the structure three dimensional and essentially have the whole furniture piece as one cast, slot-sliding joints were used to assemble the ply mold. The fabric fold at these corners lent the cast some of the most interesting fabric like aesthetics.
As the process was refined, the form became minimal to highlight the complexity of the casting process and the materiality. So, the structural properties and aesthetics of ordinary materials like fabric, plaster, ply and MDF combined as one to form this outcome, one where the inherent imperfections within them became highlighted as unique.