MHOX explores human identity in the digital age with generative design & 3D printed masks
MHOX, a design research group started by Filippo Nassetti and Alessandro Zomparelli, has been pushing the boundaries of technology and wearable design since its founding in 2012. With a continued emphasis on how generative design and 3D printing intersect with the human body, MHOX has created captivating pieces ranging from prosthetics and medical devices to masks and fashion accessories.
In one of the design duo’s most recent projects, the Superabundance Mask, additive manufacturing and generative design are brought together to explore the human body as a “territory” or foundation. The mask, which effectively hides the wearer’s face and features behind a sinewy 3D printed structure, is described by MHOX as “a vision of the human body as substratum for the formation of a fibrous biodigital entity.”
In creating the mask, the designers looked to body mapping and digital simulation technologies, which informed their own generative design algorithms. As they explain on their website, “the Superabundance fibrous tissue is a morphological system that can be controlled and designed, modulating its aggregate properties, such as extension, continuity, density, orientation, rather than acting locally on the shape of its elements, whose identification is in fact uncertain.”
From the design stage, the mask was brought into physical existence using selective laser sintering (SLS), an additive process known for its high quality finish and design flexibility. The technology, explains Nassetti, “fits the complexity and organic structures of the morphologies we work with.” SLS typically does not require much post-processing, making it ideal for printing structures as intricate as the Superabundance mask.
Masks in themselves have become a significant theme for MHOX’s designers, who see them as an appropriate motif for investigating and questioning how human identity is affected and complicated by technology and an increasingly digital world.
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