The Rise of 3D Printing in Home Decor
Differentiate by Design - Feb 23, 2021, by Asja Nastasijevic
Over the last years, 3D printing technology has evolved so much that it's no longer limited to prototypes. Initially invented to improve the manufacturing process, 3D printing eventually democratized it as technology became accessible to more and more people over time. Real, functional objects are now being 3D printed and used in almost all sectors, such as the medtech industry, automotive and aerospace industry, architecture and construction industry, and design industry.
Perhaps the most exciting use of new technology in recent years is seen in the creative industries like product design and home decor. To these industries, 3D printing has brought new opportunities for creation and innovation. The speed and accuracy of the technology have inspired a wave of talent. 3D printing has transformed the manufacturing process, making it less complicated and less expensive, and has greatly expanded the possibilities of product design. Within a matter of hours at relatively low cost, creative professionals are now capable of bringing to life the most amazing ideas that would have been difficult, or even impossible, to create using traditional production techniques. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that more and more design companies and brands working in the décor industry are introducing 3D printing in their design process.
Nobu Chair by Nagami
Creating Out of Thin Air
As soon as the 3D printers began making mainstream headlines, people started comparing them to Star Trek’s replicators, which were devices that could instantly create objects and food out of thin air. Indeed, these concepts that once belonged to the realm of science fiction have now become a reality. 3D printing technology enables design brands like Nagami, Sheyn, and Sanhelden, who are part of Aztro, to unleash their imagination and experiment with new combinations of materials, shapes, textures, colors, and create tangible groundbreaking products that could not be made before.
Production process by Sandhelden
3D printers do not require pre-designed molds that are one of the greatest upfront production costs, especially if the final product requires several molds. Moreover, they are very constraining in terms of form, which often leads to the redesign to minimize production costs and maximize manufacturing efficiency. Besides, a factory will require minimum order quantities for a single product, which makes traditional design process undoubtedly expensive and time-consuming. 3D printing, instead, enables designers to make three-dimensional objects using additive processes through which items are created by laying down successive layers of material. The two requirements associated with the traditional manufacturing process - minimum order and expensive mold tools - have been eliminated. Therefore, 3 D printing is a perfect method for on-demand production and customization, allowing designers to produce high-quality functional items in small series fast. Moreover, the process enables them to achieve a higher level of complexity in the design with accuracy and elaborated parts and textures, which would be impossible to implement in regular production. For example, Sanhelden creates incredible wash bins out of sand with organic and geometric textures that would be impossible to create with traditional techniques.
Production process by Nagami
In collaboration with internationally renowned designers like Zaha Hadid Architects, Daniel Widrig, and Ross Lovegrove to name a few, Nagami uses 3D printing technology to explore its potential to the fullest. Their intricate and colorful furniture pushes the limits of imagination to unseen territories. In regular production, making items in multiple colors is an expensive and often inefficient process. With 3D printing technology, on the contrary, designers can use a multitude of colors and three-dimensional textures. They can stop the print, change color or add a new one, and still produce the same, original design. Nagami goes even further by doing a skin of texture on the print, with layers of color, texture, and transparency.
Rise Chair by Nagami
A Platform for Customization
The technology has proven to be beneficial to customers as well. As 3D printing allows designers to execute their ideas swiftly, with accuracy and less expense, the final products are available to customers at a lower price and fast. Truly a win-win situation for both parties! Moreover, designers are now able to more easily meet customers’ needs for a one-of-a-kind personalized item and to maximize the beneficial features in the finished products. Vienna-based design studio Sheyn allows customization using state-of-the-art modeling and fabrication techniques. Their bowls and vases are as beautiful and astonishing as they are functional. Customers are given the opportunity to design their own products in unique ways by choosing colors and materials to their taste and it won’t add any additional cost to the printing process. With 3D printing technology, people can personalize everything from furniture to venues, from pots to toys.
FALD 169g by Sheyn
The Next Generation of Creativity
The 3D printing technology continues to evolve at an incredible rate redefining the concept of design, production. We can only imagine the kind of design and novel forms of creative expression we will see in the future as 3D printing becomes more capable, versatile, and accessible to people. Will it replace traditional manufacturing methods? We doubt it, at least not all together. But it will surely open up opportunities for creative professionals to transcend into the next generation of creativity.
Journalist and Writer
Asja is a content writer specialized in the arts, design, and culture. She holds a BA degree in Art History from the University of Belgrade and an MA in Art & Cultural Management from the University of Turin. Over the years, she worked as an art gallery assistant, art writer, editor, and content creator for various art-related and design-related magazines, galleries, and online marketplaces. She currently lives in Paris, where she works as an art history and world heritage guide. When not writing, researching, or leading tours, Asja is strolling through her favorite and most beautiful districts in Paris – Le Marais. Her motto is: "Put all you are into the smallest thing you do." It is a verse from a poem by one of her favorite poets Fernando Pessoa.
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