Nefertiti’s Ring

Anillo Nefertiti.
Nefertiti’s Ring.            

“Nefertiti's Ring” is a piece of design that merges computational design and digital fabrication to create a tangible representation of Wayne Shorter's iconic melody in "Nefertiti," from Miles Davis' eponymous album. The ring's woven shape is the result of a controlled data flow design process, providing a physical manifestation of Shorter's ostinato and capturing a remarkable moment in the expressive nature of jazz.


"Nefertiti" is a ground-breaking jazz composition by Wayne Shorter that defies convention by placing the rhythm section at the forefront of the music, rather than as a mere accompaniment to the lead players on horns. On "Nefertiti," Shorter and Davis play a truncated 12-bar theme that repeats with minimal variation. Instead of solos, the two musicians sustain an ostinato – from the Italian for “obstinate” – a continually repeated musical phrase or rhythm. This ostinato features a melody no longer than 33 seconds, which is repeated multiple times, creating space for Tony Williams' exceptional drumming while Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter interact in an improvisation that seamlessly alternates between synchronization and disjointed counterpoint. The result is a remarkable turnaround where the rhythm section is liberated. Despite the freedom of the rhythm section, the music maintains the characteristics of bebop jazz, with syncopated triplet rhythms and respect for key signatures, a shaped form of free jazz.

"Nefertiti's Ring" takes this 33-second ostinato melody as input and generates an infinite circle of the melody, an eternal ostinato, represented in the form of a ring. The ring's woven shape is a result of a carefully controlled data flow design process that translates Shorter's ostinato into a tangible object. Thus, the ring captures the essence of the expressive nature of jazz and a physical manifestation of Shorter's music.

From data to matter.

Computational design tools are a powerful way to manipulate data into multiple shapes or reinterpretations, with this tools of parametric design next and a developed digital fabrication it’s possible to work within a complete “Black box” design process that allows to create an algorithmic path from Music to Matter.

In the design process of “Nefertiti's Ring”, various factors such as the size of the inner circle, the weight of the ring or the minimum thickness required for the silver to pass through a mold were treated as variables in an algorithm where the input are the frequency values of Wayne Shorter’s interpretation and the resulting output is the ring itself.

This design strategy seamlessly combines traditional design principles such as composition, fabrication, and ergonomics with Shorter's expressive nature as an artist. It captures Shorter's approach to each note in the melody, including the way he manages the air in the dramatic drop after reaching the peak of it, and reflects it in the geometry of the ring, defining the piece as much as the melody itself. offering a fitting representation of Shorter's artistic expression in both aesthetics and functionality.