Around the world, industries are trying to grasp what the digital evolution can mean to them. The xArch symposium: creativity in the age of digital reproduction, held by Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University’s Design School on 11-12 November at XJTLU, aimed to help the creative industry rethink creativity in the digital era.

Industry-leading speakers, parallel sessions and a workshop provided a platform for interdisciplinary conversations among international participants about digital design and AI-related challenges.

Architect and computational designer Arturo Tedeschi gives a keynote speech

Recent years have seen the explosion of creativity, said Arturo Tedeschi, an internationally renowned architect and computational designer, in a keynote speech. Tedeschi has been a consultant on the use of leading-edge digital tools and methods like algorithmic modelling and AI for firms including Adidas, Volkswagen, and Zaha Hadid Architects.

According to Tedeschi, AI’s ability to make processes more efficient and its ongoing development are supporting this creative outpour.

“With artificial intelligence, we are actually moving into another dimension where the machines can produce millions of different pieces of work.

“The design tools are constantly upgrading, which can also shape the final outcome of our designs. In other words, idea and process are overlapped, and the process makes the design,” he said.

Yet, he explained, innately human abilities are necessary for creative advancements: “We are still able to create more sophisticated designs that the current AI cannot achieve. The ability of storytelling and ideation, instead of techniques, are unique to us as humans, and are something that the future generation of designers should focus on developing.”

Other keynote speakers included Florian Rochereau, Founder and Principal at Bespoke Engineering Design; Neil Leach, a visiting professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and Tongji University; Charles Liu, Partner at XKool Technology.

Professor Konstantinos Papadikis

Professor Konstantinos Papadikis, Dean of XJTLU’s Design School, said that today, traditional methods of architectural design are driven by technological advancements that offer both unprecedented opportunities and challenges.

“The rapid pace of the digital revolution demands that architects and designers continually update their skills to stay relevant,” he said.

“Here at the Design School, we have been constantly pushing the boundaries of design education and cultivating the regeneration of design thinkers and creators in a diverse and dynamic environment.”

The parallel sessions witnessed discussions on computational design, digital fabrication, AI and machine learning, engineering and construction field, and more.

Participants in a parallel session

The symposium also held a workshop on designing efficient structures that minimise environmental impact. It allowed the participants to explore how to achieve the balance between structural performance and environmental concerns using Karamba3D, a structural engineering tool.

A workshop on designing efficient structures within a carbon-constrained world

 

Academic staff from Department of Architecture with keynote speakers of xArch symposium

By Yi Qian

Edited by Tamara Kaup and Patricia Pieterse

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