Exploring the Complementarity of Mathematical and Artistic Thinking in Design through 3-D Printing
Keywords:Art and Design, Mathematical Art, Steam, Technology in the Arts.
AbstractMost development of the “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) paradigm has been in the realm of education; however, the idea of combining technical and artistic thinking has many practical applications in product design. The more artistic side of technology design is often considered during design, but it tends to be subservient to the technical (“quantitative”) side due to the lack of a definite method for combining the technical and artistic concepts. New developments in 3-D printing and related technologies have opened some doors toward this by allowing the qualitative and quantitative design aspects to be expressed via a “common language” derived from the complementarity of mathematics and art. In this article, the complementarity of thought in design is discussed through the medium of 3-D printing. The basic concept of a “complementary design thinking” approach and work-flow of 3-D printing is explored in detail, with a focus on the value of the technology to bring together both the quantitative and qualitative approaches to design thinking. A case study using a 3-D printed model of the well-known Costa Minimal Surface from mathematics is presented and discussed to demonstrate the concepts. The concepts presented have clear policy implications for design, arts, education, engineering, and human-technology interaction research and practice; these implications are discussed in detail.
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