Starlings Table (2010)

Inspired by the beauty of the Dutch skies and their famous dramatic cloud formations, ballets of starlings and theatrical light, this project aimed to create self-supporting sculptural objects based on computer-simulated particle behavior. The shape was generated by a 3D flight simulation program based on Craig Reynolds’ boids algorithm (Reynolds is a computer graphics expert and the word ‘boid’, is based on a corruption of the word ‘bird’). Using this algorithm, we simulated a swarm that could be stopped at any given moment in time. This frozen moment in time was then converted into a self-supporting 3D structure of unpredictable shape and porosity consisting of 25,000 little starlings. Because of the enormous file size, we weren’t able to see the entire object until it was 3D printed. This exceptionally large 3D print was then nickel-plated in the UK, using a custom-made plating process.

The starling table is part of the permanent collection of Musée des arts décoratifs de Paris, France.