Neri Oxman ·
Synthetic Apiary


︎︎︎ Synthetic Apiary
︎︎︎ Bee Cubes
In 2010, Neri Oxman established the MIT Mediated Matter Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is organized as a collaborative, interdisciplinary team that links engineering, computational design and artificial intelligence. Oxman’s goal is simple and direct—she seeks to demonstrate how new technologies can inform the future of design and the making of objects. From this starting point Oxman and the MIT Mediated Matter Group have produced an extraordinary body of work.

What does it mean to invent manufacturing practices that grow rather than assemble? What if building components were modelled on human skin, the weavings of a silkworm or the intricate structures of a hive? These are the type of questions that drive the research of Oxman and her collaborators—and have shaped some of the thinking that informs generative design, evolutionary design and parametric architecture.

Contemporary design has established a fundamental link between the algorithm and the organism, and opened the door to new models of complexity and materiality. Colour and opacity, stiffness, softness, shape memory, swellability, expansion, wettability, and refractive index can be seamlessly tuned, fabricated and leveraged in design applications.

A close examination of the natural world and an openness to complexity and new materials and methods have provided the tools to overcome the limitations of traditional mechanical design that favours uniformity and repetition. Offering an antidote to human-centric design, Oxman calls for a “holistic approach which considers all environments—the built, the natural and the biological…”

Text To Speech

Neri Oxman and the MIT Mediated Matter Group, Golden Bee Cube, Synthetic Apiary II, 202, beeswax, acrylic, gold particles, gold powder, Courtesy of Neri Oxman and the MIT Mediated Matter Group