Novedge: Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do
Andrei Hakhovich: I’m Andrei Hakhovich, a designer and founder of Gradient Matter, a design and applied-research studio. My design agenda and research interests lay in materiality research and spatial constructs that have an impact on the users, built with the sensorial, public and ecological environmental as a focus. I was born and raised in Minsk, Belarus and have dual educational background in both architecture and engineering. I received my BS in Civil Engineering from Belarusian National Technic University and my Master's Degree in Architecture from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Prior to establishing my own practice, I’ve worked at a number of prominent offices as an architect, interior designer and innovative façade consultant.
Novedge: What is it like to work at the Tech Shop?
Andrei Hakhovich: Techshop is a great dynamic prototyping environment. There is a very rich cross-disciplinary crowd of members that work at the Techshop. I’m always curious to see new and unexpected takes on problem-solving that come from makers and designers who are different from me. At the California College of the Arts I had the opportunity to take many courses and establish connections with other departments like furniture/industrial and interaction design. Techshop is very similar in that regard. People who go there range from science engineers to hobbyists and you never know who you will meet next. It is very motivating to see people working in so many different scales from small objects to large public art installations. I always keep an eye and exchange contacts with people who are great in areas that are outside of my expertise.
Novedge: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Andrei Hakhovich: Daly urban life and natural processes are the biggest inspirations for me. Designers can learn a lot from other disciplines like biology, material science, and mechanical engineering.
Novedge: What are some recent projects that you worked on?
Andrei Hakhovich: My latest project is called Vorticity, which is a large scale interior installation for the office of Transparent House, a creative digital agency which is located downtown San Francisco. The installation operates under the guise of perception through the altering of one’s awareness via modes of reflection, integration, and repositioning. The installation focuses the gallery visitors' attention on three main display screens that highlight the work of Transparent House. As you move around the room you capture glimpses of change, reflecting light under different angles, transforming the spectrum as it bounces through the smoky panels. The staggered panels twist and turn around the LCD screens expressing movement and dislocation, fragments of the masonry wall behind promenade their way through the installation, at moments revealed, sometimes hidden. The installation allowed me to test some of the ideas that I’m currently developing for a future architectural project
Branching Table – custom digitally fabricated coffee table that pushes CNC fabrication and joints research
Fiberglass composite building façade components (in collaboration with Bret Walters)
Novedge: What software do you use?
Rhino is a very versatile and affordable 3D platform that can be extended through additional plugins. I like the intuitive interface. McNeel came a long way in developing the latest version, which is capable of producing drawings, quick study rendering and animation, as well as fabrication output. I use grasshopper heavily, a plug-in which converts Rhino into fully parametric software.
Novedge: What matters to you the most in design?
Andrei Hakhovich: The ability to explore, innovate and understand the world around me through challenging myself.
Novedge: What innovations do you find most exciting in your field?
Andrei Hakhovich: I think innovation in material research and fabrication methods are the most fascinating, and will be able to radically transform the discipline of design and architecture, especially super lightweight composites and materials that generate energy, communicate and store information.
To see more of Andrei's work, check out his website.
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