As CTO Jeff Kowalski mentioned as part of last year's keynote address at AU:
"One great reason to go outside for insight is that it helps us to discover our blindspots. Blindspots, by definition, always exist outside the range of what we're able to see at any given time, and that's why at Autodesk we're constantly looking for ways to go outside our existing points of view (e.g., robotics, Burning Man). We want to see what we're missing and what we should be paying attention to that we're not. The good news is that when you consciously step outside your current perspectives, blindspots are actually pretty easy to locate, and sometimes, you can even use them as an inspiration to innovate."
It's for this reason that many Autodesk employees go to Burning Man on their own time. They want to see design done to the extreme. Though this year's Burning Man is from August 25 to September 1, lots of work goes into the event way before it starts — as early as January for concepts and May for work in earnest. One of my colleagues, Arthur Harsuvanakit shared his story of just some of the prework he was personally involved in on nights and weekends.
Here is an update on how we contributed to the Temple at Burning Man this year. Internationally renowned American sculptor, David Best, is the main temple architect. Here is the hand drawing from David that the team started from:
Here is a shot of the Design/Engineering Team (David is the one with his hands over his face):
We made 16 of these 8 foot chandeliers that will be wrapped with rice paper, lit, and hung inside the temple design based on a sketch by David. These were CNC'd at Jeffery McGrew's shop with the help of his assistant Jacob.
Below is an image of 40 of these smaller 4 foot versions. These were lasered on the Metabeam at the Autodesk Pier 9 facility. Big thanks to our Office of the CTO intern, Will Goldie, for lasering all 40 using the AutoCAD plug-in he developed this summer for driving Metabeam.
Based on a paper sketch from David, I designed and fabricated 4 archway entrances into the temple.
Below is a shot showing dry assembly of the archway in the temple crew's Petaluma space:
Here's one showing dry assembly of the ring of the archway:
We also designed and fabricated a ceiling that would hang on the inside of the temple with the help of Marisha (another architect on the design team), and Jacob. Looking underneath the temple, one sees:
Looking directly underneath the center of the temple, one sees:
We cut ceiling panels at Autodesk CEO, Carl Bass' shop:
It was indeed a lot of work, and it continues, but it is so worth it.
Preparations are alive in the lab.