Synthetic Grain


Synthetic Grain utilizes computational design and digital fabrication techniques to mimic natural grain patterns and organic forms with synthetic manufactured materials. Parallel lines are adjusted around a set of points or “knots” based on proximity to that point. The result is a three dimensionally curved, contoured surface made of laser cut polystyrene strips that lock into slots in a plywood backer.


Completed: 2012
Medium: Plywood, High Impact Polystyrene
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Client: Upland Brewing Co
Size: 12’ x 3’ x 5’”

The project was conceived to be scalable, by changing material thicknesses and number of custom panels. Material type, finishes, and depth changes could drastically alter the project’s appearance. This would allow for development as a building skin, retail storefront, or simply the backdrop for a bar. The manner in which the strips engage the wood allow for changing perceptions as the user moves past. While of the same language, each part is unique to its specific condition, similar to natural systems.

The installation was developed for Upland Brewing Co.’s superbowl party “The Dirty Party in the Clean Zone,” hosted by Young and Laramore. The piece served as a visually dynamic backdrop for the DJ.