Autobaroque 2.0

I made a thing! It’s an automatic Baroque curlicue generator. Because it’s drawing over time, it may take a while to see anything stunning. Give it a moment and enjoy the patterns grow!

I’ve always had a fondness for those ornate patterns that used to embellish. They were part of design for a really long time – from the Late Romanesque period through to Art Deco, they were on everything from books and picture frames to great cathedrals and public buildings. Then at some point in the 20th century, they started disappearing. Between increasing labour costs and the shift from private to corporate ownership, it became less and less common to bother with these superficial details.

Except we still love them. I think part of people’s nostalgia for those bygone eras is their yearning for this kind of decoration. Shedding ornamentation may have made sense from an economic perspective, but the bare, hostile forms we’re left with are often unsatisfying to the human eye. In an era where automation resolves not only matters of production, but can assist in the design of complex forms, it’s unacceptable to leave everything bare.

Enter Autobaroque. It’s an attempt to automate the design of the decorations that we miss. It’s very much a work in progress – there’s only a rudimentary awareness of the form being produced within the system. Even so, the results are pleasing. In future, I’d like to make it follow more specific patterns for filling the shape of a crest or a monogram. It’s all still in 2D at this stage, so I’d also like to integrate it with OpenJSCAD or implement it in MatterMachine. Ultimately, I’d like to 3D print ornamentation on-demand for people – everything from picture frames to furniture to architectural features.

If it does nothing else, I hope that Autobaroque will help people see and understand the beauty and complexity in these forms. After watching Autobaroque generating for fifteen minutes, you get a new-found literacy for patterns everywhere.