3D Printing in interior design?
Designers are beginning to embrace the unlimited possibilities 3D printing can offer, which is primarily creating solid objects based on digitally mapped designs. In other words, 3D printing allows a designer to draw any object, which will then be put into reality by a computer. Forms that would be impossible to make using traditional methods are now feasible.
The USA, Singapore and the Netherlands seem to be the leaders in the 3D printing world, with an entirely printed house in nylon currently under construction in Amsterdam.
It is unlikely that we will be printing our own houses in the near future; we may however be able to print significant elements of them. It will be possible to produce the “impossible” objects, with no obstacles, such as gravity, forces etc., so fully customized on-demand options will be possible to realize.
What are the benefits of such a trend? 3D printing in the construction industry has major benefits which include the elimination of wasted materials due to production upon demand and the removal of transport costs, as designs will be able to be printed locally. This has both financial and environmental benefits. Besides this technology is developing further, therefore it will become less time consuming and costly to 3D print than mass produce items using molds.
3D printing has been widely used so far for creating product samples, large scale models like urban architectural lay out, while creating presentations for the clients prior to design execution.
3D printers are now available on a personal and domestic scale, with retailers such as Amazon selling them online. Nevertheless, it is too early to understand how we are going to engage with this technology on a daily level. It is safe to assume that this technology will help to create new industries and new jobs, ones which we cannot yet imagine. I believe in the future more and more often we will see the examples of innovative design where one-of-a-kind items will be imitated to a perfect scale and detail.
Even though the limitations of 3D printing are currently due to the lack of materials that can be manipulated (for now it is plastic, resin and metal), this technology will be developing very fast. Singapore has made 3D printing a major priority and has numerous centers dedicated to the technology. They are attempting to construct a 3D printed high-rise building, one storey at a time. On a smaller scale, a good example can be binary furniture by Cohda, famous for their tables of a “flowing liquid” shape.