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If Rube Goldberg Had Been An Industrial Designer

Software helps Bastiaan de Nennie remix everyday objects into wild, new inventions.

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A clamp. An iron. An umbrella. A water knob. A spray bottle. Alone, they don’t aspire to be much more. But in Bastiaan de Nennie’s hands, they’re reassembled to become a wild bicycle.

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This reinventiveness is thanks to the half-man, half-machine improvisation of de Nennie’s The Digital Virtuosity, a project for the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate show.

De Nennie chooses items, scans them, chops them into various pieces, and reassembles them into a new object. Then software determines the surface patterns and colors. From the look of things, it’s the equivalent of baking a multilayered cake only to let your child have at it with the frosting. Gelatinous surfaces clash with ’80s prints, which clash with iridescent pearl, and somehow, it’s completely charming.

De Nennie’s system is chaotic by design. “In a world where craftsmanship is becoming synonymous with digital fluency, developing a signature style is essential to distinguish one designer from the next,” he explains in an artist’s statement. “The Digital Virtuosity, with its man-made choices and computer-generated distortions, leads the way.”

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In fact, de Nennie has already made a name for himself as an artist using The Digital Virtuosity system: He just created the cover for Frame magazine’s December 2015 issue.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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