The Bartlett School of Architecture


Reflective Geometries

Mariana Rivera Berrios and Sara Zaidan

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This project focuses on the exploration of subtractive manufacturing technologies and their effects on material behaviour. It aims to predict and design visual light transmission of machined surfaces using virtual simulation, enabling new material responses and qualities to be programmed into conventional materials such as aluminium. By integrating feedback data loops between the multiple stages of digital fabrication, novel ways of making become possible. 

Material performance is largely dependent on physical properties and the manufacturing process is usually guided by the design intention. In contrast, these prototypes intend to define the optical performance of aluminium through carefully selected fabrication parameters that uncover inherent metaproperties. A clear relationship between the physical and digital world is established, offering the designer the necessary tools to ease design-to-production communication. The visual perception of machined surfaces can be designed, simulated, and materialised. However, the way the user will react and feel towards an object is unquantifiable.


1. Machining process of parametrically generated geometries on aluminium. 
2. Virtually designed light reflections through machined surfaces. 
3. Surface finish and toolpath strategy detail.