Greg Lynn, Design at the intersection of Digital and Physical Environments.

August 22, 2017 4 min read

Novedge:  Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do; what would you consider your most fitting title?

Greg LynnGreg Lynn: I live in Los Angeles California where I have my firmand am a Professor at UCLA. We are working on the design of everything from factories, to retail pods, to foiling trimarans and chairs with a dynamic microclimate. The only thing that ties all of this together is that we are always working at the intersection of digital and physical environments where we can define new experiences for people.

Novedge: What is your background? 

Greg Lynn: I was born and raised in Northern Ohio and went to school at the same University my grandparents attended: Miami University of Ohio.  I received two degrees, one Bachelor of Philosophy and another Bachelor of Environmental Design.  I then attended Princeton University where I received a Masters of Architecture degree.  I worked for Peter Eisenman for four-and-a-half years on the Carnegie Mellon Research Institute building and then on the School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. 

Novedge: Where you always interested in Art and Design growing up?

Greg Lynn: My mother made sure of it.  Before I could drive I was taught how to draw a threaded worm gear in 3 point perspective.  I remember in my shop class in High School my teacher started talking about drafting and by the end of the day I was practically teaching the class.  At a very young age I had lots of drafting, geometry and drawing skills so when I went to college the classes dedicated to developing facility with tools and techniques were very easy; this is why I was able to pursue other interests.  As Nicolai Ouroussoff pointed out, I have always been slightly ambivalent about my interests in Architecture, Art and Design.  My father liked to tinker and invent and I have always been drawn to innovation.  Neither invention or innovation has a very high value in any of those fields you mentioned.

Novedge: What are some of your latest endeavors?  

Greg Lynn: Along with Jeffrey Schnapp and Michele and Roberto Colaninno of the Piaggio Group I co-Founded a company called Piaggio Fast Forward.  We are thinking about mobility for cities that is more civic, lively and vibrant than the city being formulated by the automobile industry.  We are interested in autonomy but rather than self-driving cars and delivery drones we are focusing on what we refer to as autonomy for humans™.  Our first product is a robotic vehicle called Gita™that knows how people move and can anticipate and track us as we walk, run or die through cities and moves along with us carrying things and freeing us to go further with our hands free.  We think of it changing the way people move and socialize, in a very similar way that the Vespa revolutionized mobility and freedom for a generation of people decades ago.  Inventing, designing and now industrializing a robot that moves with, rather than for, people is one of the most exciting things I have ever undertaken. Gita_followingGita™.

Novedge: You have been one of the pioneers in digital technologies specifically where Design is concerned; what are your favorite materials and technologies right now for Design and Fabrication?

Greg Lynn: I love high performance structures.  My son Jasper mocks me by saying that I want to rebuild everything in carbon fiber.  I think there is some truth to that.  Our little studio has become very proficient in manufacturing things in composite materials and I am often spending time with aerospace and naval engineers talking about the benefits of composites to the building industry.

Novedge: What software do you use? 

Greg Lynn: I am a die hard Mayaand Aliasuser for design.

Novedge:  Your work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, do you have a favorite piece? 

Greg Lynn: I like when people can sit in the Ravioli Chair, drink out of the Coffee and Tea Tower or the Supple Cups and wear Swarovski jewelry.  SO I am always flattered to be included in a museum’s permanent collection but what I really like is seeing something in use in someone’s home, office or around their neck or on the finger.  I do have a favorite institution and that is the Canadian Center for Architecture.  They were the first museum to ask to have one of my digital files that wasn’t an edition.  They have made a commitment to incorporate native digital materials used by Architects in the design process as part of their permanent collection.  My entire architectural archive is on loan there currently and I hope someday I can gift it to them as I am in awe of Phylis Lambert, Mirko Zardiniand the entire team there at the CCA for what they are doing with digital archives.  There is no other place like them and every place should be doing exactly what they are right now before all the materials disappear. Coronel for Atelier Swarovski Home by Greg LynnCoronel for Atelier Swarovsky Home, by Greg Lynn.

Novedge: The scope of your work is wide and impressive; is there something that you would like to Design but you haven't had a chance yet?

Greg Lynn: With Fred Courouble, I designed a sailboat that goes more than 30mph with just the force of the wind.  I would like to design something that is ten times as fast.  So either a motorcycle, car or airplane I suppose; anything that goes +300mph. Girlfriend_TrimaranWould you like to meet Greg Lynn in person in Los Angeles? Greg is going to be one of the amazing keynote speakers at CONVERGE 2017. Friends of Novedge can attend the conference for FREE! Find out more about CONVERGE 2017 and how to get a free pass here.

 And don't forget to take a tour of the Novedge web page for all of your 3D Design Software needs!


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