AESTUS is a design project that aims to raise awareness for natural material qualities and manufacturing challenges.
Inspired by the dynamic relationship between nature and machine, AESTUS is a series of stratified wooden vases designed and manufactured to explore a new synthesis of traditional materials and modern technology. Carved from hundreds of layers of wood by an industrial robot, the vases capture the fluidity of the machine’s movements in the depth of the wooden texture. Merging art and engineering, each vase is unique, and custom made from beech plywood. The project is meant to celebrate the emerging aesthetic potentials of contemporary wood design, and inspire how we think about material consumption and production.
As one of the oldest and most natural materials known to humankind, wood’s intricate qualities have always been alluring to architects and designers. Suffering under the connotation of an outdated material in the past decades, wood has just recently experienced renewed interest due its sustainability, adaptability, and its tactile and visual depth. It is no coincidence that a new awareness for the natural has emerged together with innovative digital technologies that enable designers to directly engage with new means of fabrication.
The series’ distinctive material and iconic shape is meant to blend modern and traditional design qualities. Displayed in tandem or as a conversation piece, each of the four vases in the series is functional and highly durable. A brushed stainless-steel inset marks the lip of the vase and serves as a durable water repository, which ends at the bottom of the vase as a setback platform. A wax finish serves as a natural protection to the wood.
AESTUS is both a story of material exploration as it is of technical prowess. Each piece is re-constituted from countless layers of beech wood, giving each vase its unique grain and stratified look. Each vase is formed by the bespoke kinematics of a 7-axis industrial robot. Pushing the limits of 3D milling, in both tool path design and tooling complexity, each groove in the piece re-conciliates the destructive forces of the milling tool on the material with the precise movement of the robot. As the grooves follow the vase’s shape down in a spiral pattern, they expand and contract in waves, capturing a moment of movement on the differentiated wooden texture. Ultimately, digital design, simulation and fabrication techniques serve merely as steps to reveal the unique material and tactile qualities of each AESTUS piece.
AESTUS is the first product design project from German architecture and wood researcher Oliver David Krieg, now living in Canada. After many years of exploration in fabrication technologies, AESTUS became a passion project that was developed into a finished product in summer 2018.