This paper presents the design project “it's a SMALL world”, an exhibition design developed for the Danish Design Centre in 2009.The project investigates the making of a generative design environment by which multiple design parameters as from program, site or the subsequent digital fabrication and assembly process can be negotiated. In this paper we discuss methods for understanding the emergent interrelationships between encoded parameters, how to manage these and their impact on design.The implementation of the design necessitated a novel design method that allowed to blend the qualities of a generative design approach, that can adapt through recursion gradually to local requirements, with explicit definitions.The project showcases with its new developed manufacturing system for non- standard element how customized digital design and production tools allow for a novel nearness to material and new ways of production and collaboration of architects, engineers and the crafts.