If you follow MAKO Design + Invent here on the Invention Blog, or on Twitter, or Pinterest, you’d see we have a fondness for innovative and ground breaking industrial design. Though beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, the designs we favour are a result of great industrial design and usually, an extremely driven individual.
We stumbled across an interesting looking chair and after doing a bit of reading, discovered it was 3-D printed. That was interesting enough but to take it that much farther, it molds to your behind.
Many will wonder why this design or trend is even worth mentioning. The reasoning is simple. 3D printed furniture is designed to be visually appealing, but is rarely comfortable.
Van Daal was working on a project for Ahrend, a Dutch office furniture manufacturer, but had a difficult time getting about the environmental cost of her designs. The simple fact is that a traditional piece of furniture is made of multiple pieces, of different kinds of materials and when it’s time to redecorate, everything almost always ends up in a landfill rather than the recycling bin.
Having that insight, Van Daal went to work on creating a design that was still elegant and appealing and in the end turned to biomimicry for inspiration. Taking cues from sea sponges and other similar materials, and after multiple prototypes, she got to a single cushioned design that could be manufactured from a single type of plastic using a laser sintering 3-D printer.
We consider that a huge success because it solved the initial problem of copious amounts of furniture ending up in landfills.
But does it work?
“I’ve already sat on the little scale model and nothing happened!” says van Daal. “It’s very strong and when you sit on it you can feel the comfortable structure on top of it.”
The fact that the chair is comfortable and elegant is a testament to the hard work and dedication put into its creation. As a matter of fact, each plastic contour of the chair was actually modeled by hand using Rhinoceros, a 3-D modeling tool that we ourselves are very familiar with.
Some things to note:
The design is too large for any conventional 3-D printer to printer produced. The model that was tested needed to be scaled down to an 18 inch model. To put that into perspective, image a chair fit for a design-conscious 6 year old. The model displayed also took 96 hours to print and nearly cost a whopping $10,000.
“I really want to work with some scientists to do research on structures in nature and find more biological materials,” she says. “The product has to be fully recyclable.” Despite the potential for more challenges in the future, Van Daal is moving forward and intends to continue developing new eco-friendly material options.
Here at MAKO Invent, we have an intimate understanding of the struggles Van Daal found herself faced with but luckily, we have an exceptional team of Industrial Designers committed to solving problems exactly like that.
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!