lexus design award 2018: DIGITALAB's generative system links low-tech materials and high-tech processes

lexus design award 2018: DIGITALAB's generative system links low-tech materials and high-tech processes

this shortlisted project of the lexus design award 2018 – is one of the 4 prototype winners and DIGITALAB’s ‘CO – RK system’ — is more than just a shape or product, it is a generative system that connects a low-tech, sustainable material (cork thread) and computational scripts (generative design) creating a set of shapes (products) and spaces (atmospheres) with multiple functions and scales.


cork thread is a unique and innovative product, non-fibrous, 100% natural and developed by in-filo. the material has the natural color of cork and the way it looks is very similar to jute. the thread was created for application in fashion, more specifically in the textile industry. currently, the thread can be produced with a thickness of up to 1 millimeter or more, while maintaining its resistance to abrasion and stress-related wear and tear. the project has been mentored by lindsey adelman.


exhibition at milan design week
image © lexus design award 2018


LEXUS design award 2018: running for its sixth consecutive year – this year’s edition of the annual award, again co-organized by designboom, drew a record 1,319 entries from 68 countries under the theme of ‘CO-‘, a latin prefix meaning with or together. the theme is seen as an approach that allows LEXUS to explore its true potential, and that of the environment, by creating new possibilities through collaboration, coordination, and connection.

more than 4,000 people participated via the call published on designboom which comprised the period from july 24th to october 18th, 2017.


after careful consideration twelve winners have been selected by the six judges: sir david adjaye, architect; paola antonelli, curator; shigeru ban, architect; birgit lohmann, designboom’s editor in chief; alice rawsthorn, design commentator; and yoshihiro sawa, executive vice president of LEXUS international. four prototype winners received a mentorship by an acknowledged professional to develop a prototype of his/her submitted work. LEXUS covered the prototype production costs up to 3 million yen (*includes tax, customs duty, construction fee and part of a packaging fee).
see the 12 shortlisted projects and the call for entries.


the cork thread is a unique and innovative product, non-fibrous, 100% natural and developed by in-filo
image © carmo amorim & hugo costa


it’s a robust, comfortable material, resistant to light traction and it’s also washable, keeping all the original physical properties of cork. in addition to its aesthetic and technical properties, cork thread is sustainable and environmentally friendly. during the creative process, portuguese based design studio DIGITALAB has created an algorithm that not only creates complex generative forms based on mathematical formulas but also optimizes its structure for future production at the same time. this parametric system allows the creation of multiple shapes and spaces — lamps, chairs, tables and exhibition spatial systems –, adapted to a specific function.


the material has the natural color of cork and the way it looks is very similar to jute
image © carmo amorim & hugo costa


in this lamp, the enneper mathematical function was used. with this strategy, it is possible to create various solutions to choose from that make the best of the cork yarn’s properties, generating new shapes and spaces that connect creativity, workmanship, technology, and innovation, with the goal of ‘transforming the world into a better place’.


assembling process — front view
image © eduardo nascimento

assembling process — top view
image © eduardo nascimento

cork thread is a unique and innovative product, non-fibrous, 100% natural and developed by in-filo
image © carmo amorim & hugo costa

creative mood board
image © carmo amorim & hugo costa

metal bend process
image © carmo amorim & hugo costa

the lamp is divided into three parts: metal structure, cork thread weaving, and electronic components

symbiosis between high-tech processes and low-tech materials gives way to coordination between form and matter

DOF — design, optimization, fabrication

parametric and algorithmic system


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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