The Alter Ego Of A Magis Puppy – Realized Through Generative Design & 3D-Printing

New York, New York

Through generative design and 3D printing, we reimagined the simplistic form of the Magis Puppy – more than just applied design or ornamentation, it’s form achieved through technology.

The Intro

For years, the Herman Miller Puppy Love Challenge has offered the unique opportunity for designers across the industry to flex their creative muscles and come up with a show-stopping reimagination of the Magis Puppy sculpture. In 2018, we entered the contest with “Dogmented Reality,” our app-based augmented reality puppy that changed its look at the touch of a button, which ultimately won the Top Dog “Most Innovative” prize.

For 2019, we revved up our Design Lab’s Microfactory of 3D printers to complete Micron, our completely original Magis Puppy entry for this year’s Challenge. Our team, Alter Ego, developed Micron’s look through a series of generative design concepts to totally reimagine its bold, yet simplistic, form.

The team approached this year thinking not just about what they wanted to design, but how to best celebrate Mancini’s unique identifiers that we’ve cultivated over the last few years.  Last year the augmented reality custom app we built and uploaded to the app store was a total success.  This time the team’s goal was to explore a different technology – 3D printing. Our developers had some fun with this one.

The Technology

The team created an “Alter Ego” for the puppy in a new but similar manner with our 3D printers, which can pretty much print anything. Using procedural generation algorithms, the team aggregated a series of geometric nodes throughout the body of the puppy. The idea was to not spend so much time on the tech, but on the actual design of the puppy.

 

 

When you look closely, the nodes interweave in different directions, creating what resembles a pattern.  But the lack of the pattern is what the team found most interesting. No single piece of the design repeats, but when you zoom back out it creates the uniform, recognizable figure of the Magis Puppy.

With the generative design was established, the team began fabrication, which proved a touch complex.  As no one part is the same, the team capitalized on the capabilities of our 3D-printing Microfactory.  The six printers worked continuously over 200 hours to produce 15 unique pieces at 25 microns of a resolution (the diameter of a human hair is around 75 microns, for perspective).  These pieces were trimmed and assembled, sort of like a 3D puzzle, to create Micron’s final form.

 

Each individual part was precisely printed within microns of accuracy to match joint to joint. As you can imagine, this required a lot of patience to find the optimal connections. The attention to detail was so refined, that when you look at the result, it looks to have been printed all in one piece.

Wrap Up

Ultimately, Alter Ego’s design challenges the ties that “ornament” and décor have on form.  For the team, it wasn’t the applied décor that is so common at these Challenges, it’s simply ornamentation acting as form. The result is a  sophisticated figure that would respect the bold simplicity of the original Magis Puppy, but with a ‘Mancini’ twist only achievable by technology.