Digital design

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Matt Kennedy produces ceramics using unique digital tools under his Portland studio Port Rhombus Design.The dreamy designs have a mathematic feel to them, whether on night lights, vases or soap trays. Kennedy sings the praises of newly affordable and accessible digital manufacturing tools, which allow small cottage-industry craftsmen to compete with larger companies. By advocating for design on a smaller scale, he hopes to change some of “the many inappropriate practices in manufacturing and consumption that we are expected to accept.”

“An interesting aspect to the use of digital fabrication is the possibility for designs to be manufactured in the buyers’ backyard,” Kennedy says. “A CAD file can be e-mailed and … that furniture can be milled at a local production shop — completely bypassing long-haul trucking.” Kennedy uses sustainable materials as much as he can, choosing to source locally and support smaller material providers.

In today’s throwaway culture of cheap furniture not built to last, Kennedy pushes for a forgotten environmentally sound practice: design longevity. “More than just timeless forms, I hope to encourage a commitment towards the purchase of quality crafted items built to last,” he says.