Structural Evolution – Studio Nolan Kim

AI Creative Challenge 4.0_ Winner01

Become A Digital Member

Subscribe only for €3.99 per month.
Cancel anytime!

Introduction of the workshop:

With the advent of 3D printing came newfound structural forms. The uniform shapes of commonplace products are now ripped open and given internal appendages. We now look past the bounds of an object’s perimeter and peer into its interior volume. What was then solid is now empty space transfigured into assemblies of geometric linkages and architectural patterns.

Throughout the last decade, the evolution of highly-functional parametric structures has found a niche within innovations in footwear. Programmable behavior, data-driven transformation, and customizable arrangements are developed guided by the demands of marathon trails and fashion runways.

By investigating these structural forms alongside their respective footwear applications, this workshop aims to present students with a focused approach to parametric design techniques – directing attention first to intended functionality and then to high-level manipulation.

The scope of the workshop:

The best lessons are learned through stories. The Structural Evolution workshop will journey through the last decade of initiatives implementing parametric structures into footwear.

Participants will learn of the early New Balance and Nervous Systems experiments that explored pressure map-influenced Voronoi cells and analyze the universally known beam-based structures utilized by the Adidas 4D Futurecraft. The program will investigate the research of auxetic patterns undertaken by the MIT Media Lab in collaboration with Puma and the study of minimal surfaces led by Onur Gun’s team in partnership with Formlabs.

The goal is to discuss the intention of these projects, extract the framework of their structures, and ultimately build these geometries as a parametric workflow within Rhino/Grasshopper.



Students will continually transition between industry case studies of a structural form and parametric modeling using Rhino and Grasshopper. In this way, contextual understanding will always predicate technique. The Structural Evolution workshop will expose students to four structural families:

  • Auxetics
  • Beam-based lattices
  • Triply periodic minimal surfaces
  • Voronoi structures

The first and most important step is establishing the essential building blocks of each structure’s anatomy. After that, the program will build upon these principles to showcase advanced methods of construction in the form of region-specific control, customized formulas, and data integration.

The design process will be taught step-by-step from scratch with the participants, allowing each individual to have hands-on experience with the software and freely ask questions.


By the conclusion of this workshop, students will have developed a robust approach to building a wide variety of parametric structures. The main objective is to embed all technical learnings within the context of real-world applications.

Regarding technique, participants will grasp the three main phases of structural design: organizing substructures, generating geometry, and advanced manipulation.
Regarding context, the program will examine the timeline of major developments in parametric footwear and assess the approaches and considerations of each milestone.

Program of the workshop:

Day 1, July 8th

  • Introduction
  • Lecture: Enhanced performance through structural design
  • Lecture: Exploration of dynamic structures and programmed behavior
  • Tutorial 1: Auxetic structures
  • Lecture: Structural controllability and design for additive manufacturing
  • Tutorial 2: Advanced beam-based structures
  • Q&A Session

Day 2, July 9th

  • Lecture: Internal components and segmented assemblies
  • Lecture: Triply Periodic Minimal Surfaces
  • Tutorial 3: Implicit fields and customized formulas
  • Lecture: Data Integration and Biomechanics
  • Tutorial 4: Voronoi structures and pressure-maps
  • Lecture: 3D-printing in the world of fashion
  • Q&A Session


Important Notes:

  • The “STRUCTURAL EVOLUTION” Studio workshop by PAACADEMY will start on Saturday, July 8th, at 12:00 (GMT).
  • Total sessions: 2 Sessions
  • The teaching duration per session will be around 4 hours.
  • Students will have time for a break between teaching hours.
  • Each session and the entire studio will be recorded, and videos will be available for participants just a day after the class for unlimited time.
  • PAACADEMY will provide a certificate of attendance.
  • The studio has limited seats. Tickets are non-transferable & non-refundable. Please read carefully before you register.


Nolan Kim


Nolan Junhee Kim is a New York-based computational designer with a background in biomedical engineering. Much of his early work investigated the correlation between 3D-printed geometries and long-distance running performance. He went on to head many of the computational design projects at Desktop Metal, leveraging his knowledge of parametric structures and access to a wide array of additive manufacturing resources to develop
applications for automotive components, sports products, industrial tools, and interior designs. Now residing in Brooklyn, he has released a design with Zellerfeld, published a course with Lemanoosh, and is taking on collaborative projects with independent designers, 3D-printing companies, and fashion brands. His work is a perpetual pursuit of the forms and structures which reveal themselves along the intersection of research, performance, and design.

Share with a friend:

Learn about parametric and computational from the online courses at the PAACADEMY:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become A Digital Member

Subscribe only for €3.99 per month. Cancel anytime!

Weekly Newsletter in Your Inbox

Explore More

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter