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An interactive web application for designing one-of-a-kind shelves based on the Voronoi algorithm. Read more

pledged of $6,500 goal
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This project was successfully funded on January 20, 2013.

An interactive web application for designing one-of-a-kind shelves based on the Voronoi algorithm.

About this project

Imagine designing & customizing your own Voronoi bookshelf on your iPad, then seeing it show up on your doorstep just a few days later, fully assembled or as a kit.

The First Voronoi Bookshelf
The First Voronoi Bookshelf

Now, imagine you could do this not just with these Voronoi bookshelves, but with a number of original designs for other products like lamps, tables, desks and chairs. 

And I don't just mean telling Ikea how many feet your want your kitchen counter to be, or specifying the color of your new hoodie. 

I mean actively participating in the design, and generating truly personalized creations. You can't mess this up. 

My goal is not just to design beautiful objects, but to design intuitive, interactive ways for you to create beautiful objects with them. You are the designer-collaborator. 

I believe great design is not something you consume, it's something you do. It's an interaction, a collaboration. 

I want you to have a deep connection with the objects in your life, to know the story of the design, to understand why a line angles in the way it does, or why that curve goes in that direction. 

It's a big idea, and it all begins with these Voronoi Bookshelves. 

These are the first in a series of original, interactive designs I'll be creating. This one is still in its prototype stage, and by bringing it to the next level, I will be developing the digital tools and skills needed to create even better interactive design experiences.

A screen grab of the web app
A screen grab of the web app

Right now, I have a prototype of both the web application and the bookshelf, but both need a few improvements. 

The web app was originally developed as a Java applet that can be embedded in a web page. It's live right now, and you can play with it here. However, I really want to rewrite the entire app in JavaScript using the snazzy new WebGL API. Rewriting the app will make it more powerful, more intuitive and more fun to use.

The design of the bookshelf right now is great, but there is always room for improvement and variation. Perhaps a flatpack, aluminium and bamboo design? Once we have the geometry in the computer, it's easy to explore variations.

The funds from this Kickstarter will go directly to supporting efforts to rewrite the code in Javascript and to develop new variations on the physical design.

Voronoi Bookshelf
Voronoi Bookshelf

Got Questions?

How big will the shelves for the rewards be? Each will be unique. Sizes will will vary a bit, but on average they will be 4' tall 4' wide and 6-8" deep. 

What are they made from? I use an ultra-premium Birch plywood. It's lovely stuff; if Jonathan Ive had to design the iPhone6 from plywood, he'd use this stuff.

Why don't you include shipping in reward? I really struggled with this decision. Because the shelves I'd like to give as rewards are so large (see above) I can't ship them with UPS or FedEx ground, I'll need to use a freight shipper. Because freight shipping rates are highly varied, I'd need to incorporate the maximum estimated cost, which would be unfair to more local people. If you live as far away as New York, anticipate paying around $400 more for shipping.

Hey, I live near San Francisco would you deliver it to me? Yes! I will personally deliver your unit if you are in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Won't shipping be a problem with the new version? I'll be working on a flatpack version of the bookshelf that will allow us to ship it ground. 

Can these mount on the wall? What about freestanding? Yes and yes. Either. 

So, what they hell is a Voronoi pattern? The Voronoi pattern emerges when you take a set number of "seed" points and use them to divide up a space into a series of cells so that all the points within a cell are closer to that cell's seed point that to any other seed point. Read more about it here.

Thank's to:

Kelly Parkinson

Ben Carpenter

Ethan Oberman

Brian Shire

Risks and challenges

Nothing can get in the way of or delay delivery of the reward bookshelves. The current version of the software is fully capable of generating them, I own the CNC machine to cut them, and I've got glue! The funds for this project will cover the cost of the materials needed to build the bookshelves.

I have the skills to develop the new version of the application, and most of the logic has been tackled in the current version, but it might take longer than expected to get the new version ready for prime time. You never know where a little thing will become a big problem that sucks up more time than estimated.

If that happens, I'll keep working on it until it's finished.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    35 backers

    A limited-edition Voronoi button designed by Hero and pressed by Snarky McF Buttons. Plus, an invitation to beta-test the new version of the software.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    8 backers

    A small one-of-a-kind Voronoi shelf, designed by Hero. Approximately 2' tall 2' wide and 4-6" deep. And a Voronoi button. See below for shipping information.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    6 backers

    A large one-of-a-kind Voronoi shelf, designed by Hero. Approximately 4' tall 4' wide and 6-8" deep. And a Voronoi button. See below for shipping information.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $700 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    Be my guest in my Oakland studio to design your own shelf, then watch as the robot cuts the parts before your eyes! And you also get a button!

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (33 days)