How do you design a 3D Print (rather than 3D print a design?
As a response to the recent emergence of 3D printing as a readily available technology, the Durotaxis Chair and La Burbuja Lamp are two design research projects that explore "how to design a 3D print" rather than "how to 3D print a design". Both projects are self-proposed challenges to design architectural objects (designed objects that are viewed as hypothetical architectural prototypes) that convert the material and fabrication intelligence of the additive manufacturing process into formal and structural intelligence that capitalize on 3D printing as a form of digital craft. Both of these project could not be manufactured by any other fabrication process.
The Durotaxis Chair is a fully 3D printed multi-material dual position rocking chair inspired by the biological process of the same name, which refers to the migration of cells guided by gradients in substrate rigidity. The chair is an ovoid rocking chair which has two positions, as an upright rocking chair and as a horizontal rocking lounge. The volume of the chair is defined by a densely packed three-dimensional wire mesh that gradiates in size, scale, density, color, and rigidity. The varying gradient conditions are expressions of the combined formal, ergonomic, and structural properties of the chair.
As an extension to an on-going body of design research which explores the reciprocal relationships between form and performance - the chair provides an opportunity to explore a design and fabrication process that articulates both visually and materially what the chair is doing structurally and ergonomically. The chair is thicker and more rigid where it needs it, and thinner and softer where it needs it.
The La Burbuja Lamp is a bespoke 3D printed pendant luminaire articulated as a densely packed three dimensional field of virtual soap bubbles. The intricately articulated lattice of the pendant is the result of a design research experiment in three-dimensional space packing structures that are constrained by the limitations of the angles of repose required to support extruded PLA plastic in a supportless FDM 3D printing process with zero waste.
The object can be read as a series of multiple micro figures embedded within a monolithic macro figure via the constitution of over 1200 virtual bubbles computationally packed into its spherical bubble-like mass. The juxtaposition of two primitive & platonic global forms is defined by an internal decahedron skin and a spherical exterior skin, with the volume between them defined by variably localized articulations and lace-like forms which produce multiple readings of figures within figures.
By simultaneously considering the structural, material, and fabrication constraints 3D printing, our hope is to further pursue these discoveries at larger scales and further define the opportunities of utilizing the benefits of 3D printing for producing highly precise complex geometries with out the costly drawbacks of wasted material unnecessary post-production.
Synthesis is an award-winning contemporary design practice exploring design at the intersection of Performance, Technology and Craft. Challenged with the mission to explore and redefine the relationship between form and performance, the office explores methods of informing design through technological means. The design trajectory and ethos of the office is rooted in balancing both the experimental and the visionary with the practical and the pragmatic to achieve the extraordinary. With over 20 years of collective professional experience the office has established an impressive and diverse portfolio of buildings, facades, infrastructure, interiors, installations, exhibitions, furniture, and product design.