Thursday, 23 February 2012

CobaltNiche - Foam modelling techniques

CobaltNiche directors Jack Magree and Steve Martinuzzo studied industrial design at RMIT University and recalled today the influence of the foam modelling techniques passed on by Italian designer Dario di Diana. We studied together and learned foam modelling techniques from Dario in our final years at RMIT. Dario had worked with Mario Bellini in Milan on products for Olivetti like the ETP55 and the Logos range of electronic calculators. I can still recall the luminous green keys on the Olivetti Logos 75B that sat on a shelf in Dario's office in 2B2.

Dario di Diana not only introduced the technique to students, he designed and manufactured a small number of precision foam cutting machines in Melbourne.

CobaltNiche directors Steve Martinuzzo and Jack Magree pictured with RMIT University PhD researcher and colleague Ian Wong with the original Dario de Diana foam cutter.

Olivetti Logos 75B designed by Mario Bellini and studio designers including Dario di Dianna. 

Jack, Steve and I all graduated in 1985 and by 1987 we had all worked with leading industrial design consultancy John Westood Design Associates. John Westwood purchased one of the original Dario foam cutters and one of the first projects it was used on was the Telecom Australia IKTS telephone design project. Jack Magree and Mario Matkovich produced models of all three concept proposals for what was the major industrial design project in Melbourne in 1987. The Aegis CZ300 which featured in the exhibition STILL09 was also an early Jack Magee design. Foam models were used to assess critical ergonomics for this innovative hand held electronic line fault locator. 

Design World magazine No15 feature on RMIT industrial design highlights the significant use of the foam modelling technique in the program in 1988.

Foam modelling as a design technique is fundamental to many of the industrial design practices in Melbourne and the use of this technique is directly linked back to Milan and the practice of Mario Bellini. The original Dario de Diana machine pictured above is still used today at CobaltNiche more than 25 years on. Products like the Keep Cup and scientific instruments like the Premiers Design Award winning Varian 900-LC series all benefitted from a design process that included foam modelling.

Aegis CZ3000 designed by industrial designers Jack Magree and Mario Matkovich. 1987.

Premiers Design Award 2008 winning Varian 900-LC series designed by CobaltNiche.

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