Behind the Surfaces



#StudioExperimentalDesign #Master-Thesis

«Behind the Surfaces» deals with the non-contact measurement of surfaces using digital photogrammetry. From cumulus clouds and anthropogenic smoke clouds to weathered stones and concrete chunks of demolished houses. In a series of experiments, this Master-thesis addresses a relevant context of contemporary design: What artisanal, technical and narrative possibilities the digital moulding of complex structures enables? In this way, the work makes an intelligent and design-based contribution to the sustainable use of resources by giving new value to found forms and materials.

Using fragments of building rubble from a recycling yard, Matthias Maurer explored how he can capture their surfaces three-dimensionally using photogrammetric techniques. With the help of 3D-printed and milled connecting pieces, which can only be produced with the help of these 3D scans, he tries to integrate the fragments into new functional structures. Is it possible in this way to sketch out a path towards the design of everyday objects that shows that alternative resources are taken into account alongside standardized raw materials such as rods and sheet material? Assuming that natural resources can no longer be exploited as they have been in the past, we may have to get used to the fact that reusing anthropogenic raw materials can be more complex and time-consuming than the conventional production of goods. Photogrammetry could act as an enabler to integrate heterogeneous surfaces of existing structures into digital planning and design processes. In this way, it may contribute to a design that becomes aware of anthropogenic material resources that otherwise lie fallow.

About Matthias

Matthias has been living in Basel since 2015. During his Master’s studies, he worked as a freelancer in art educat­ion, scenography, and as a project coach at the FHNW. The Masterstudio’s self­image as an interdisciplinary institute is what attracted him to study here. At the time of his gradua­tion he is working as a student trainee in dialogic urban development.


Dr. Ralf Michel

, Studio Integrative Design

Prof. Heinz Wagner

, Studio Integrative Design