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Growing Fractal Jewelry in a Digital Garden

The designers at Nervous System are "growing" the bio-inspired jewelry of the future.
Images courtesy the artist

With nature as their guide, design studio Nervous System, a.k.a. Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, has just launched a line of jewelry called Floraform that grows with the same differential growth you see in kale, iris flowers, jellyfish legs, and their prime inspiration, the Coxscomb, whose dense ridges have earned it the nickname, "brain flower." Using software similar to the engine that constructed the 3D-printed dress MoMA acquired earlier this year and further developed for their Growing Objects exhibition in Sydney last year, the duo has been "growing" designs using a set of mechanisms based on the flower's edge-based growth pattern.


"The fascinating thing about Coxcomb is how the mutation reveals a lot about the underlying mechanics of how plants grow," Rosenkrantz explains to The Creators Project. "You have this system that usually produces a branching tree structure and when it breaks produces these incredible brain-shaped flowers full of convolutions and folds. What sort of growth mechanism can explain that? And what does the space of form between those two extremes look like? We really wanted to simulate it and play in that space."

Natural occurrences of ruffles caused by differential growth

Ranging from $20 to nearly $400, the results of their biology-mimicking experiments are available from their store in 3D-printed nylon or sterling silver, but they are exploring a cloud-based outgrowth, also called Floraform, based on user-generated design. Eventually they hope to grow the pattern into adaptable, truly alive 4D-printed materials that change and grow over time, similar to the 4D-printed fabrics being developed by Skylar Tibbits at MIT's Self-Assembly Lab.

Learn more about Floraform in the video below and on the Nervous Systems website.

Buy your own Floraforms in the Nervous System shop. Contact Rosenkrantz and Louis-Rosenberg at to join the cloud-based Floraforms beta-testing program.


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