The Iterative and the Recursive: The Serial Logic of Multi-Ply / Andrew Blauvelt / Design Director Walker Art Center
have been searching for a term to describe the kind of systematic design
that I have been interested in lately, which I find in three-dimensional
form in the Multiply series of furniture by Foundation 33. Precision,
efficiency, rationality: these are the words that come to mind with the
Multiply series. There has always been something missing from the equation,
as if the terms are borrowed wholesale from science or hold the vestiges
of modernism. Such terminology misses, I believe, the conceptual nature
of the work by being more descriptive of its technical execution. It is
only with the occasion of the Multiply seriesthe 10.2 Coffee Table,
16.8 Dining Table, and the 8.4 Low Tablethat the conceptual logic
reveals itself. The Multiply series explicates the recursive nature of
the process. The recursive structure is one in which some of the elements
produce the rules that generate the structure itself. In this way the
Multiply series reveals the generative nature of the working method in
which recurring elements (the material, the method of assembly, the numbering
function of the titles) establish continuity yet yield variation. By contrast,
iteration is repetition, which is the logic of modern industrial production.
In their exhibition space at 100% Design [October 2000], Foundation 33
uses the material of repetitionmirrored glass. By fabricating only
half of each tabletheir formation interruptedand displaying
it against a mirrored wall, the completion of the object is realised.
However, the serial logic of Multiply remains open and generative.