3D-Printed Biomimicry Chair to Replace Traditional Upholstered Furniture
Designer Lilian van Daal
All Photos courtesy © Lilian van Daal
The furniture of tomorrow may look very different than today’s conventional pieces of decor. With a more eco-friendly future in mind, designers feel the need for simplifying both the manufacturing process and the materials used in building furniture. Responding to this need, Dutch designer Lilian van Daal (http://lilianvandaal.com) created the Biomimicry chair, an interesting yet still experimental concept in its early days.
The chair was digitally produced using the new 3D printing technology. It seems the perfect seating piece for a modern or contemporary decor with a futuristic vibe or even for traditional spaces in need of a dramatic contrast piece. However, it was the comfort element that was problematic. Lilian van Daal found the solution in mimicking the cellular structure of plants to create both the soft and the rigid areas of the chair using only one material. The process gave the seat the much-needed spongy quality along with the sturdy structure expected from a piece of furniture.
The 3D-printed chair is an eco-friendly alternative to classic furniture. The comfort of an upholstered seating piece is undeniable, but recycling such a mix of wood, chemicals, glues, metal springs, foam and fabrics is a nightmare. By contrast, the cellular chair uses only a completely recyclable nylon material. The nylon is not the best option for a green product, but it is a first step in narrowing down the right materials for a soft, comfortable seating piece.
The use of only one material minimizes the waste so common during the conventional manufacturing process. It dramatically cuts down on the resources needed for manufacturing and transport. While the traditional process involves up to six factories in the production of the materials and final piece, the cellular chair can be built locally, with no need for polluting means of transportation.
There is only one more step left to conquer for an entirely green solution: finding a natural alternative to the nylon material. Designers have already experimented with fungi and have created furniture that “grows” along with the growing bodies of these organisms. Lilian van Daal believes that tomorrow’s furniture will adopt the 3D printing technology and combine it with earth-friendly materials for a clean, resource-efficient manufacturing process.
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