Product Design: Bridging the Analog and Digital Divide

“I learned to loosen up,” said Lilit Lalayan about her first atelier at TUMO Studios. “I studied product design in Germany and I like to be in control. While you need to know methods, frameworks and software — design also requires mistake, sometimes on purpose.”

A student at the Hochschule Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Art, Lilit spent last semester researching product design in Armenia. While in Yerevan, she discovered TUMO Studios and the opportunity to participate in a hands-on experience creating objects from 3D generated patterns with Arpi Mangasaryan. Through her atelier, Arpi, an architect by trade, was interested in confronting the tension between digital and analog elements of our cities, workplaces and personal lives.

“The digital world is filtered through every aspect of our lives and sometimes the digital and material worlds clash. That creates conflict,” said Arpi, who was born in Armenia and raised in Germany. Quote: “The objective of my atelier is learning how to transition from the material world to the digital world and back with minimal losses in between.” Lilit

Students began by studying Armenian rug patterns and experimenting with physical materials such as wood, metal and paper. Building on that experience, they created 3D patterns using Rhino, 3D modeling software, and Grasshopper, which is used for generative algorithms and 3D geometry. In the final phase, students created objects based on their digital patterns ranging from lighting systems and curtains to coasters and jewelry.

After many iterations, Lilit crafted a minimal brass necklace modeled off of a small section of geometric rug pattern. The user can tighten and extend the necklace to taste — wearing it as a choker or much lower on the chest.

“At first, I didn’t like the direction my piece was going in. So, Arpi advised me to do something drastic and cut it. I rearranged the pieces and ended up with something I love,” said Lilit. “Sometimes, you just have to be free and go with the flow.”