A graduation project illustrates the future of 3D printed structures.
Industrial Designer Lilian van Daal’s graduation project at Royal College of Art in The Hague is entitled, “Biomimicry”, which is precisely the underlying design approach. It’s a piece of furniture on the outside surface, but inside it’s quite different.
The piece solves an ecological problem: current seat designs usually include both hard and soft components to provide comfortable, yet sturdy seating. The assembly of the components requires separate manufacturing of the components in different factories, necessitating transport. The Biomimicry design produces a usable soft seat with 3D printing. van Daal explains:
In nature many structures are to be found that are not able to produce with normal production techniques. 3D printing however does make it possible to reproduce these complex structures. In this way a product can be created from one material in one factory, although it has the properties of various materials. Pollution caused by transport can be minimized and the product is completely recycable. The first working prototype has been made possible by 3D Systems Benelux.
In other words, an ingenious design overcame the need for separate components, significantly reducing the required ecological footprint. This is how 3D printing should be use in the future. Or maybe now.