Brandon Clifford's TED Talk

As a 2019 TED Fellow, Brandon gave a talk on Matter Design's approach to alternative ways of thinking about our built environments. It is now available for viewing on He gave the talk at the official TED Conference on April 15, 2019 in Vancouver, BC.

Megaphones at the New York Philharmonic

We are collaborating with composer Ashley Fure on her new piece titled 'Filament' which will debut at the New York Philharmonic's Opening Gala Concert this Thursday, September 20, 2018. Twenty custom robotically printed megaphones focus the sound of the Constellation Chor's voices throughout the seating at David Geffen Hall. Each megaphone directs sound in a slightly different way and will be distributed throughout the audience, unfolding in a series of tableaux; in turn, undoing the hierarchy of priced seats, and providing an immersive experience. If you can’t attend, it will be broadcast on Live From Lincoln Center.

Megaphones in Rome


Our custom robotically printed megaphones are in Rome in preparation for this Thursday's performance of 'Filament' at the American Academy in Rome with composer Ashley Fure. Looking forward to sharing more developments soon!

2018 QuarraMatter Fellows Announced

Rachael Henry left) David Costanza (right)

Rachael Henry left) David Costanza (right)

Matter Design and Quarra Stone announce this week that David Costanza of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rachael Henry of the University of Michigan have been selected as the 2018 QuarraMatter Fellows. 

David Costanza is the director and lead designer of DCS as well as the Technology Fellow at Rice University School of Architecture. Through practice and teaching, his focus is establishing a dialog between the computational tools used in design, digital tools used in manufacturing, and the emergence of advanced building materials. David Costanza is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received both a Master of Architecture and a Master of Science in Architecture.

Rachael Henry is pursuing a Master of Architecture Degree at the University of Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Science from Ball State University in 2012 with an emphasis on digital fabrication. At Ball State, Rachael was involved with developing an open source platform for the school’s KUKA robot and involved with research led by digital fabrication fellows at the time. At the University of Michigan, Rachael has continued advancing her skills in fabrication by working as a Lab Assistant where she is responsible for maintaining and operating fabrication equipment as well as offering advice to other students looking to use this equipment. She has worked alongside professors and students on Research Through Making projects for the past two years. Past RTM projects include robotic wood bending, printing, and felting. Rachael is currently involved in continuing research on robotic felting with Wes McGee, Tsz Yan Ng and Asa Peller. Rachael’s interests involve applying advanced digital fabrication techniques to processes behind the creation and design of an object as well as developing new tools.

For more information and the press release, click here.

The Cannibal's Cookbook is in the Press

The Cannibal's Cookbook has received a few excellent reviews recently. Check out below what some of them are saying.

“The book is a true bombshell, fearlessly exploding the world of architecture; by getting rid of contemporary times, defined as a self-destructive, mad delirium, Clifford takes us back to what Bruno Zevi called, ‘the Zero Mark,’ a primigenial architecture – eternal and mythical in its construction processes – that, in this case, is projected into the future.” — Riccardo Buratti, Domus
"Clifford’s algorithms provide something akin to recipes, with prescriptive techniques and methods that show builders how to turn a pile of rubble into a wall." — Katharine Schwab, FastCo

Janus - Preview Trailer

Introducing - the preview trailer of an ongoing experimental collaboration between Brandon Clifford, Federico Gardella (composition), CEMEX Global R&D (materials), Simone Conforti (sound design), and Sean Gullette (story). Custom typography by Johanna Lobdell.

This trailer, titled 'Janus' is the first chapter of the eponymous sculptural performance collaborative project. The film introduces the characters and elements that will act out in the work which will be presented in Spring 2018. In Janus, concrete characters perform in concert with water to unleash a sound piece. The work explores the productive tension between anticipation and experience through the production of an object and through the re-elaborartion of sound.

'Janus Trailer' is now on exhibit at the American Academy in Rome in the exhibition 'CINQUE MOSTRE 2018: The Tesseract'. Opening February 14, 2018. MORE TO COME SOON!

2018 Quarra Matter Fellowship - Call for Submissions

Quarra Stone and Matter Design announce the fourth annual Quarra Matter Fellowship. This prestigious fellowship is a research position as part of an ongoing industry/academy collaborative research project between Quarra Stone and Matter Design on advancing digital agendas in the material stone.

Two research fellows will work daily at Quarra Stone’s location in Madison Wisconsin for the duration of a 10-week research project in the summer of 2018. During the course of this fellowship, the researchers will work directly with the Quarra Stone team to develop and implement advanced fabrication processes. This research will culminate in a series of large-scale constructed artifacts carved and assembled of stone. Fellows will work with and alongside the professional stone fabricators at Quarra Stone and are expected to report and communicate the research with their respective research coordinators—Brandon Clifford at MIT and Wes McGee at UM.

Past fellowships include a cairn (see this video) by the 2015 fellows Dustin Brugmann and Luisel Zayas published in Acadia and TxA 2017, and a method for carving and casting metal details into a white marble shell structure by the 2016 fellows Inés Ariza and Shan Sutherland published in Fabricate 2017. The 2017 fellows Zain Karsan and Layth Mahdi, developed a study of post-tensioning and dry-stacked unitized masonry. This work is in progress and will be released soon.

The intention of this research is to build processes that improve accuracy and reduce the gap between drawing and making. Quarra Stone has vast resources dedicated to complex carving of stone, and Matter Design has an interest in engaging this resource and shoring it with computational intelligence. Both parties share an interest in this symbiotic relationship and the fellows will serve to implement, document, and aid in the publication of this research. Throughout the process, fellows will be exposed to master stone-cutters and learn about the process of cutting stone while simultaneously translating that knowledge into digital craft, thus sharing this knowledge with Quarra Stone. While the research is serious, the people at Quarra Stone are incredible hosts, and plenty of fun is had.


This fellowship is eligible to current students and recent graduates of MIT and the University of Michigan, as well as previous Quarra Stone interns. Applicants at any level of their education will be considered. If you have any questions about your eligibility, please contact us.


The fellowship begins June 1, 2018 and concludes August 31, 2018

Honorarium Details:

Each fellow will receive a stipend of $10,000. Throughout the 10-week period, 80% of the stipend will be distributed via payroll with the final 20% delivered upon submission of the research documentation. This stipend does not include travel or lodging.

Process to Apply:

Candidates must submit application material VIA E-MAIL AS ONE PDF ATTACHMENT.

Application Deadline: 5:00pm EST on February 12, 2018.

MIT Application Submission: (Brandon Clifford, MIT/Matter Design)

UM Application Submission: (Wes McGee, UM/Matter Design)

Application Material: In ONE pdf please include the following

  • 100 word biography explaining which program the applicant is enrolled in and at what stage, as well as any notes about prior fabrication, computation, and research experience.
  • 250 word statement of interest – Because the nature of this fellowship is collaborative, both between the fellows as well as the industry/academy relationship, we are looking for statements of research interest in order to gauge your direction and possible pairings of fellows. We do not hold these statements as design proposals, but rather insights into research interests.
  • Curriculum vitae or Resume
  • 3 images (only) expressing the applicants ability to work with computation and fabrication
  • 3 Reference Contacts (not letters)

Applications will be reviewed mid-February with follow-up interviews soon after.

Brandon Clifford & Wes McGee | Matter Design

Jim Durham | Quarra Stone

Wes McGee Wins ACADIA’s Innovative Research Award of Excellence

Wes McGee wins the 2017 ACADIA (Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture) Innovative Research Award of Excellence. As an award recipient, McGee will also give a lecture at this year’s ACADIA Conference, “Disciplines & Disruption” which will be hosted by MIT on November 2 - 4, 2017.

McGee was chosen for his work in innovative research and teaching which focuses on developing new connections between design, engineering, materials, and processes as they relate to the built environment through the creation of customized software and fabrication tools.

References from News: