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Gaudi’s Genius Lives, in a Gorgeous High-Tech Stool

If you’ve ever seen Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece in Barcelona, Sagrada Familia, then you’ve probably also seen the jaw-droppingly simple models upon which the building was based. Gaudi was born, of course, over 150 years before high-tech modeling became commonplace. To generate the building’s intricate curves, he borrowed an old Gothic trick, and let gravity do the modeling for him: First, he connected hundreds of strings to each other, and hung lead weights from the them:

La Sagrada Familia: Rope Model

Then, he took pictures and fliped them upside down, to figure out how his towers would have to be shaped, to hold their own weight:

La Sagrada Familia

Gaudi’s example might be outmoded, but it’s not forgotten. As Yatzer notes, young dutch designer Bram Geenen sought to emulate Gaudi’s method, and update it using modern tools. He started with curves that echo those discovered by Gaudi. But from there, they part ways: Geenen then modeled the curves on a computer, and then generated a support structure that could keep it rigid. The final product was made using a carbon-fiber shell, an a plastic superstructure fabricated with rapid prototyping. As a result, only the barest amount of material is needed; the stool weighs less than two pounds:

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia