Created as part of her PhD project at the local School of Design HfG Offenbach – a research into the intuitive parts of the design process- Anika Frye’s improvisation machine produces variation instead of repetition. Deliberately built with quite common and familiar furniture elements, such as brass fittings, multiplex and steel tubes, its produce is also as low-tech as its looks.Instead of a fixed mold that produces the same object every time, a variation of molds can be used.



The first series of rotational molded pieces that resulted – vases, containers and bowls – are all different and unique, while all objects still remain related to each other because of their form. Exploring the border between sameness and difference, all molds are made from simple geometric patterns and based on the same octagonal grid. The basic material used is a special plaster that hardens within short time, resembling a ceramics, to which wooden parts and other materials can be added at will. A first model of the machine –which was also shown at the Adhocracy exhibition during last year’s Istanbul Design Biennial, Tom Dixon’s MOST during the Milan Design Week, and at The New Museum, NY, and most recently in the New Nomadic Furniture exhibition at MAK Vienna – was improvised with Fischertechnik parts. “Also because I wanted the machine to be more than just a tool, “ says Freye, “At first, I also wanted to make it machine improvise, but I soon figured out that the improvisation can not be done by a machine. It actually happens when the machine is being built or when I produce objects with the machine: the user still is the one who improvises”. mb)