Milan Design Week takes place during the Salone del Mobile, the largest furniture fair in the world. It has become a place to see some of the latest advancements in product design and 3D printing has been introduced as a development and production process for some time. Indeed, the 3dpbm team has been organizing events focused on 3D printing during Milan Design Week since 2014. Now, the use of 3D printing technology has become almost ubiquitous, so much so that some 3D printed products are no longer advertised as such. It is therefore no longer a question of finding 3D printed products among those made traditionally, but rather of finding particularly interesting products.
SLOPE by OECHSLER, a 3D printed chair MJF
OECHSLER, a global leader in expanding the use of AM into new segments, participated in Milan Design Week by showcasing its unique 3D printed furniture, 3D printed via MJF. Having tried it personally, I can say that it was the most comfortable lounger I have ever sat on. Andreas Knöchel, Program Management Manager – Additive Manufacturing Lattice at OECHSLER AG, said that “joining a furniture fair and event that spans all of downtown Milan showcasing 3D printed furniture upholstery as the only among 763 sites and participants was definitely a new but great experience.” He added that “meeting designers and brands for in-depth discussions about furniture they had never seen before, but got excited about from the moment they walked through the door, was the best part of it. part”.
OECHSLER’s innovative approach to 3D printed seat manufacturing builds on the company’s past and current car seat experience. In doing so, it introduces new opportunities in terms of cushioning, design freedom, one-print hybrid functionality, and high durability through easy recycling of individual parts. Thanks to the MJF additive manufacturing process, the company can use materials in the right way to create the perfect balance between flexibility and comfort.
The comfort of each 3D printed furniture seat depends on two main factors: the design and the padding. Endless combinations of different mesh sizes, thicknesses and shapes allow for any degree of damping. At the same time, each area of the chair can be designed individually. It can be shaped in almost any way imaginable. Thanks to additive manufacturing, fabrics, springs and foam layers can be eliminated without loss of comfort. To stabilize certain parts of the seat, rigid impressions replace the racks. The additive manufactured product can also serve as a basis for further processing. For example, by adding other printed components, racks or textiles, its appearance can easily be changed, providing a whole new variety of design perspectives. There are virtually no limits when it comes to design. This revolutionizes the possibilities of profitable productions.
The SLOPE model includes a metal support with 3D printed seat cushions, 3D printed mesh pillows, easy-to-change multi-layer textile covers and 3D printed connectors. This makes it ergonomic with extremely comfortable padding and a pleasant hammock effect. The technological features are impressive. By 3D printing rigid and flexible parts into a single structure, OECHSLER has created a lightweight chair with padding that is both ergonomic and comfortable. The optional textile cover can simply be added on top. In terms of durability, all components can be disassembled and disposed of separately for recycling. In addition, the chair is very easy to disassemble and transport thanks to its lightness.
ELLI Zero Collection
Another very interesting 3D printed furniture product seen during Milan Design Week (which really made me think how great it would be to own it) is the table presented with the ZERO collection by the Elli Design studio. LFAM 3D printed by Caracol AM, this unique office table exhibited during Milan Design Week is based on a beautiful design that implements the geometry of the golden ratio. It is also functional, as the hollow 3D printed bottom parts can be used to store items.
In general, the ZERO collection by designer Alessio Elli aims for high sustainability by using recycled materials and a modular system that does not require assembly or glue. The simple forms of the collection are presented in response to the social and emotional complexity of the period we live in, simple forms that allow a good understanding of the values and production and environmental issues that are the soul of ZERO: the value of an object today is no longer represented by the quality of the materials used alone, but above all by the lowest environmental impact that can be achieved to produce it and throughout its life cycle.
ZERO 3D printed furniture, including tables and seats that double as containers (ROUND, ELLIPSE and DONUT), are 3D printed using only two materials (PLA and 100% recycled PP reinforced with glass powder ), which facilitates their replacement, recovery, and recycling at the end of their life according to the principles of the circular economy. Natural wood and FENIX NTM (a carbon neutral material) are used for the surfaces.
The sound of STHAR innovation
In the first two products, we saw innovative applications of polymer 3D printing in furniture, either via high-speed PBF (MultiJet Fusion from HP) or via LFAM (large format robotic additive manufacturing from Caracol AM). This next piece of 3D-printed furniture, on the other hand, is a very interesting application of concrete binder jetting: a giant paperclip-shaped natural iPhone amplifier, the STHAR Sousa-Phone.
It’s all the more interesting because the design studio behind it, Bolzano-based studiooberhauser, uses concrete binder spraying technology from a company in South Tyrol (South Tyrol is a region in northern Italy). also known as Trentino-Alto Adige) called Progress 3D Innovation, which hasn’t been on our radar before (which happens very very rarely). The STHAR Sousa-Phone relies on recycled glass-reinforced concrete AM, combined with advanced sound engineering, to present the first concrete analog amplifier for smartphones, which is also the largest non-electric amplifier for smartphones, with a elegant Voronoi effect at its base.
In addition to the amplifier, studiooberhauser is behind several other shotcrete furniture products, such as CHAIR N°ONE, the first series of designer chairs 3D printed in concrete by selective cement activation. In this case, the organic language of design is used to make the chairs unique sculptural pieces of furniture, embodying a dynamic and forward-looking lifestyle. Printed with the highest resolution concrete powder bed printing technology, the chairs are lightweight and durable, making them pieces of furniture to be passed down from generation to generation.
The chairs are printed in one piece, using sustainable recycled glass as the base material, the chairs embody one of the enduring ways to create and reshape the objects we interact with every day. Providing structural stability and a continuous, smooth surface, the cement impression compounds can be chosen depending on the indoor or outdoor use of CHAIR NO. ONE, making the chair a universally usable artistic design piece of furniture.