The amazing versatility and dynamism of 3D printing has captured the imagination of designers, tech enthusiasts, and tinkerers throughout the world. In the past year, it has become the most talked about topic on the web, and its potential impact on the future of our society is nearly as profound as it is immeasurable. But while bioprinting, 4D printing, and the prospect of a Marxist revolution seem to be filling headlines throughout cyberspace, little attention has been given to the impact that 3D printing is having on furniture. So to correct this inexcusable oversight, here are the 10 most ingenious 3D printed furniture designs.
1. Endless Chair
Dirk Vander Kooij is a 28-year-old Dutch designer with a knack for tech innovation. While studying at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, he purchased a Chinese industrial robot, and transformed it into the unique 3D printer with which he now manufactures his award-winning furniture. Using material gleaned from discarded refrigerators, Kooji has become especially known for his “Endless” dining and rocking chairs, which are printed from one continuous, uninterrupted line of plastic.
Video Credit: Dirk Vander Kooiji
2. Gaudi Seats
Another remarkable Dutch designer, Bram Geenen combined historical genius with cutting-edge digital technology to create these striking, minimalist stools and chairs. Taking Gaudi’s example, Geenen used an inverted model of hanging chains to determine the most stable configuration for his seats. He then combined these models with a digital algorithm to find the best structure for the backrests. The result is impressive, to say the least.
Image Credit: Freedom of Creation
3. The Starlings Table
In 2010, when 3D printing was still relatively unknown, Michal Piasecki designed a 3D bird flocking simulation based upon Reynold’s boids algorithm. By freezing the flock at any particular moment, the spatial arrangement could be captured and converted into a stereolithography blueprint. When the Joris Laarman Studio used Piasecki’s software to do just that, the nickel-plated result became not only an amazing piece of furniture, but also a remarkable piece of art––so impressive, in fact, that it was shown at the Fiedman Brenda Gallery in New York.
Image Credit: Michal Piaseck
4. Bloom Table Lamp
Conceived of by award-winning French designer Patrick Jouin, the Bloom Table Lamp takes its inspiration from flowers, which open and close in response to the natural light conditions around them. This innovative design, however, transforms from bud to blossom in a single continuous motion to control the light it emits, rather than that which it receives.
As its esoteric name clearly implies, this is no ordinary coffee table. Bathsheba Grossman, who studied as a mathematician at Yale before becoming a designer, utilized her algorithmic expertise to make her table’s foundation reflect the negative space of a gyroid. Sturdy and surprisingly elegant, the WYE.MGX is a showcase of the remarkable versatility of 3D printing.
Image Credit: Bathsheba Grossman
6. Monarch Stools
Though designed with butterflies in mind, these stackable glass-filled polyamide stools are impressively strong, despite their delicate appearance. Winner of the Best Newcomer Award, the Red Dot Design Award 2005, the Best New Exhibitor Award, and numerous others, Finnish designer Janne Kyttanen is responsible for this functional and aesthetically striking 3D printed masterpiece.
Image Credit: Freedom of Creation
These quirky candelabras come to us courtesy of the accomplished American designer Paul Loebach, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. A whimsical twist on an old classic, their humor is a delightful simplicity. About 10 inches tall, they are made from a combination of crushed marble and resin.
Image Credit: Uncommon Goods
The Throne of Paris
John Briscella’s thought-provoking design merges the private interior of the home with the public space of the city. His chair––or throne, as it is more appropriately titled––was made by molding a 3D printed map of Paris around a Louis XIV chair, and subsequently aluminum anodizing the plastic substructure.
Image Credit: MocoLoco
The Freeform Construction team at Loughborough University, led by Dr. Sungwoo Lim, is taking 3D printing to the next level. They are currently developing a technology known as 3D Concrete Printing, which is a large-scale printing method whose eventual goal is to create entire buildings from scratch and construct large public infrastructures with the touch of a button. Though the technology is still in its earliest stages, the team has already produced some impressive results, including this large multifunctional public bench and countertop.
Image Credit: Freeform Construction
The accomplished design team at Front, a well-known Swedish design firm, recently combined 3D printing with performance art and advanced video animation technology to demonstrate what they call Sketch Furniture. Holding a tiny sensor, artists trace a shape in the air, which is recorded and converted into a 3D blueprint. As you can see, the idea puts a whole new spin on conceptual furniture design.
Video Credit: Frontfilm
3D printing is changing the face of furniture design by introducing design possibilities that were hitherto unthinkable. As the technology becomes increasingly widespread and versatile, there can be no doubt it will continue to capture imaginations and reshape the world of interior design.