Few companies embody the spirit and mission of blending art and science as well as Nervous System. This 3D-printing and digital fabrication company in Somerville, Massachusetts draws inspiration from nature to create intricately patterned products, from jewelry to housewares to dresses and custom designs.
The company was founded in 2007 by Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Luois-Rosenberg, both MIT graduates with diverse academic backgrounds. Jessica studied architecture and biology, while Jesse majored in mathematics. The two combined their strengths to create Nervous System, a design studio at the intersection of science, art, and technology.
Each project at Nevous System involves three steps: inspiration, simulation, and fabrication. The duo is inspired by highly patterned and repetitive forms in nature, such as flowers, corals, hyphae, algae, and cells. Though these patterns appear regular, their natural forms maintain a degree of randomness. To mimic the blend of regularity and irregularity, and to mold these forms into different shapes such as a piece of jewelry or a vase, they create computer algorithms and models. This allows them to simulate the product quickly and iteratively, and to adjust parameters to get the desired aesthetic. Once a design has been selected, they use a variety of fabrication techniques to make the product, including 3D printing, laser cutting, and CNC routing.
Customers can participate in the design experience through using a number of tools on the Nervous System website. All are apps that allow the user to sculpt structures and edit patterns. The apps have a sleek UI that takes user-defined inputs and outputs a 3D-design, which the user can flip, enlarge, and shrink to view from all angles. And you can order your design when done!