The Marriage of Art + Technology

We are Engineers

What We Do
About Us

About Us

When a Humble Goal Cracked the Paradigm Wide Open

The Digital Atelier opened in 1998 as a subsidiary of the nonprofit Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey, under the direction of Jon Lash, a longtime employee of the Johnson Atelier.

Its initial mission was to make the technology that was becoming more prevalent in the commercial sector at the time available to artists, namely sculptors. As those early efforts began to bear fruit and the Digital Atelier’s influence grew, the focus turned to developing software and hardware that specifically addressed the atelier’s diversifying needs.

Despite the rapid technological advances in the early going, the reception to the Digital Atelier was lukewarm. Traditionalists didn’t trust the technology. Others felt it robbed the artistic process of its heart and soul. The results, however, became undeniable. And with that gradual acceptance came the admission that the new way wasn’t all that different, after all, from the way things had been done for the last thousand years. The atelier simply found a way around all the trial and error and the hard labor.

Lash and Dona Warner bought the Digital Atelier in 2011 from the Atlantic Foundation, which operated the Johnson Atelier, and relaunched it as a commercial operation. Today, it fills out 8,000 square feet of office and studio space in Hamilton, though its impression is evident well beyond those walls. The Digital Atelier is credited with spurring the vast and growing network of like-minded studios that emerged and spread across the world over the last two decades. To say nothing of the artists, conservators, set designers, or the architects who have changed their thinking and their fundamental practices because of the atelier’s new paradigm.

Boys, Tonight's on Me - Tomokazu Matsuyama
About Us
The Met worked closely with Digital Atelier over a period of five intensive months to plan and fabricate sixteen highly complex and detailed sculptures for ‘The Theater of Disappearance’, a site-specific commission on the Met’s Cantor Roof Garden by the artist Adrian Villar Rojas. Digital Atelier’s great commitment to the project and ability to work as a team with both the museum and the artist and his collaborators on many different fronts is what made the installation possible. Thank you!
Beatrice Galilee, Daniel Brodsky Associate Curator of Architecture and Design
About Brooklyn

The Hunch that Changed Everything

Around the mid-nineties, I began to explore a hunch that the technology that was creeping into the commercial landscape was also applicable to the arts and design. Mind you, I knew nothing about computers back then. But I did know sculpture.

After reading up, I was convinced that tech was going to be the new way, so I started using our projects to get our foot in the doors of unsuspecting vendors. Again and again, we tested their limits. And every time, they met the challenge.

Gradually, our focus shifted from adapting the technology to refining it to our particular needs. And as the limitations fell away, so, too, did the parameters of what was possible. Today, our collaborations are erecting monumental public art installations and set designs and realizing intricate architectural constructions around the world.

All the while, the Digital Atelier has stood at the forefront of laser-scanning and CNC-milling technologies because we remain at heart who we’ve always been: innovators. The essence of our aim is unchanged as well: to be a trusted ally to artists and designers. With those mindsets, we embrace the unknown and move the field forward.

Jon Lash
President / CEO

About Brooklyn
"As a contemporary artist, I chose to work with Digital Atelier because the quality of the works I create is of the upmost important to me. Over the last few years I have found their team’s technical knowledge and skillset to be extremely valuable in assisting me to realize my vision. Their advice has added to to my practice and helped me to create unique and interesting sculpture that have been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally. "
Miko Uno, Tomokazu Matsuyama Studio
What We’re Capable Of

See What We’re Capable Of

From our start, we’ve used technology to change the way design is done.

3D Laser Scanning

3D laser scanning, or reverse engineering, as we often refer to it, captures a physical object’s precise size and shape and uses that data to create a digital three-dimensional rendering. It’s best suited for the measurement and inspection of contoured surfaces and intricate geometries that require large amounts of data for an accurate description. We employ several laser scanners, including a seven-axis articulating arm with a high-definition laser scanning head. Should a piece be so complex that a rendering of the interior will be needed as well, we’ll find a partner within our network who can provide a CT scan.

5-Axis CNC Machining

A computer numerical control (CNC) moves a cutting tool along five different axes simultaneously. Essentially, all of that rough-cutting that’s required to transform a basic block into a silhouette, that now takes minutes, where it once absorbed hours on end. The early days of this technology were dictated by three-axis mills. Once we realized five-axis, the difference in capabilities was night and day. Within our studios, we house several five-axis milling centers that are capable of machining objects as large as 10 feet by 10 feet by 5 feet.

Digital Enlarging

The naysayers once doubted technology’s accuracy. It seems kind of funny now, to put greater faith in human practices. But, those were the ways that scaling was done for hundreds of years. There was never going to be a wholesale conversion overnight. These days, the debate’s well behind us. Romantic as a rate-of-enlargement equation may be, the software and hardware that we utilize make it foolproof, boiling down even the most nuanced dimensions to simple geometry. Simple in the entry and the retrieval, at least.

CAD Modeling

Our computer lab’s outfitted with 15 separate software suites, which enables us to translate almost any two- or three-dimensional concept we’re presented with and then engineer it and, ultimately, prepare it for CNC machining, 3D printing, or photorealistic imaging. Here’s another instance of doing in minutes what once required days. Time savings aside, handmade models never allowed for the depth of analysis that CAD models do, meaning development is more informed and less inhibited.

Total Project Management

For the last 20 years, we’ve been driving the integration of technology in fine art and architectural design. Much of the software that features prominently in those fields today stems from our own experimentation. We are problem solvers. Whether it’s figuring out how to make a nearly complete concept a reality, as was the case with Martin Puryear’s Big Bling, or launching an unrefined one from a sketch, our vast experience—over 50 years in fine art casting, architectural design, and fabrication—allows us a rare dexterity to oversee all phases.

What We’re Capable Of
I have known Jon Lash for over thirty years and have worked with him and his incredible team since the inception of the Digital Atelier. There is no question that they are the premier center for research and development as to cutting edge ideas and innovative fabrication for making sculpture today. I have worked on all kinds of difficult and differing projects large and small and not only have I always been more than satisfied with the results, I am always grateful for their insights and troubleshooting genius to get the most complex pieces made… and for the best price! I cannot say enough good things about the Digital Atelier and I constantly refer all my sculpture friends and associates to work with them. For fresh new ideas, materials and processes regarding the making of sculpture today, it doesn’t get any better than working with the Digital Atelier.
John Newman
Projects

A Few of Our Most Notable Recent Projects

We believe our work speaks for itself. Browse our most recent projects below
and enjoy our attention to detail in every project.

The Theater of Disappearance by Adrian Villar Rojas

Installed in April 2017 at the Met’s roof garden, the exhibition is comprised of 16 sculptures of people mingled among replicas of close to 100 objects from the museum’s collection. We helped scan those pieces, process the data, and build the sculptures after the artist created the compositions at his home studio in Argentina.

A Subtlety by Kara Walker

A 70-foot long sphynx-like woman erected in the relics of a former Domino Sugar refining plant in Brooklyn in the spring of 2014 marked the first large-scale public project by Kara Walker. We came up with the idea of building it out of foam blocks, 440 of them in all. The exterior blocks were coated in 80,000 pounds of sugar.

Big Bling by Martin Puryear

Puryear’s largest temporary outdoor sculpture to date, Big Bling, stands an impressive 40 feet tall. The “body” is constructed of bent wood wrapped in chain-link fencing—we handled the fencing and outsourced the beams—with a gigantic gold-leaf shackle anchored to the “head.” (Also our doing.)

A Remake of James Dean’s 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder 

On the heels of the discovery of the Spyder’s chassis, after the crash of 1959, which had been missing since 1960, we were asked to remake it in exactly the same fashion it was originally made. After scanning and processing the original, the body was hand formed around the milled cherry bucks.

Projects
Gallery

Visit our gallery

See some of our other great pieces we have had the pleasure to collaborate on.

  • Arch
    Saloua Raouda Choucair
  • The Classroon
    Will Ryman
  • Karma
    DoHo Suh
  • Topsy Turvy
    Kathy Ruttenberg
  • Family Portrait
    Will Ryman
  • Clowns
    Ugo Rondinone
  • Red Head
    Douglas Coupland and Anthony von Mandl
  • Quan Yin
    Commissioned by The Tao Group
  • From the show Theater of Disappearance
    Adrian Villar Rojas
  • Grandma's Favorite
    Tomokazu Matsuyama
  • Big Bling
    Martin Puryear
  • Flukes
    Gordon Gund
  • Stones
    Ned Smyth
  • Astronaut
    Matthew Day Jackson
  • Portal
    Commissioned by Houston Museum
  • Lady Gaga
    Jeff Koons Studio
  • From the show Theater of Disappearance
    Adrian Villar Rojas
  • Large Head
    Evan Penny
  • Weaver
    Antonio Mende
  • Buttonwood Project
    Commissioned by the Maltbie Group
Gallery
"When it comes to high quality milling of digital files and to artistic collaboration, the Digital Atelier is the best. "
Sandy Skoglund
Clients

Some of Our Clients

The comments below are just a sample of the client responses we receive.
To see a partial list of clients click here.

Clients
Jon Lash and his team at Digital Atelier offered just the right help when StudioEIS needed to solve difficult technical and aesthetic issues in order to produce the reproduction of the King George III gilded lead statue destroyed in 1776 in NY’s Battery Park, for the new Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
Ivan Schwartz. StudioEIS
Team

The Crew

We believe in a diverse range of personnel to bring creative skills,
thoughts, and ideas to the table.

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John Rannou

Chief Technology Officer

An engineering graduate of Stevens, John has mastered multiple 3D computer software suites and is proficient at coding. He has worked at the Digital Atelier 18 years and oversees all of the computer systems and programming.

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Helen Lykes

Administrative Director

As all roads lead to Rome, all office management leads to Helen. Accounting, project coordination, and HR all fall into the skillful hands of our office administrator. If you need just about anything, Helen will take care of it for you.

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Marta Villavicencio Roberts

Project Coordinator

Talented at disseminating modeling techniques to artists, Marta works one-on-one with clients and other staff overseeing the assembly and completion of most projects. Marta began working with Digital Atelier from day one and has worked with Jon for over 30 years.

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Brady Warner

Lead 3D Programmer

Brady’s background in art and mechanics allows for a complete overall view on conceptualizing ongoing projects. A graduate of SCAD, he has worked multiple disciplines at Digital Atelier for the past 10 years.

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Fred Morante

Head Modeler

Schooled in traditional figurative modeling, Fred has a background in metal casting classical sculpture techniques. The cross disciplines of analog and digital has allowed Fred to better explain how to use the correct vehicles when finishing techniques are required.

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Mike Gyampo Sr.

Assistant Modeler

After finishing studies in Ghana, Mike brought his talents to the US in the early 80’s. Besides making his own sculpture, he is a competent mold maker, metal finisher and a great cook.

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Mike Kwabena Gyampo Jr.

Head Shop Technician

“Kwabe” is the newest member of the Digital Atelier team. He is a quick study and has taken over many of the individual tasks and now is the “go to” guy for just about everyone.

Team
Media Mentions

Some of Our Media Mentions

We appreciate the accolades, but we really enjoy the diversity in the people and projects we collaborate and work with.

Media Mentions
Rants

Rants

Get yourself ready for some interesting perspectives and insights.

Rants

Want to Collaborate?

Drop us a line to discover how we can turn your vision into reality.