Designer shows the power of digital printing in new display

Posted Nov 7, 2017 by Tim Sandle
A 3D printable Makerchair is currently on view at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum as part of the exhibition “Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age.” This exhibit highlights the possibilities of digital printing.
Joris Laarman is a Dutch designer  artist and entrepreneur best known for his experimental designs i...
Joris Laarman is a Dutch designer, artist and entrepreneur best known for his experimental designs inspired by emerging technologies.
Joris Laarman
Art meets technology, technology meets design, design meets business in a new exhibition which highlights the possibilities of 3D printing. The show is the first U.S. exhibition of the work of experimental Dutch designer and inventor Joris Laarman. The artist works across design, art and engineering in order to create unusual designs, such as furniture generated by smart algorithms and the world’s first fully functional three-dimensional printed steel bridge.
The artist has taken advantage of developments in 3D printing (additive manufacturing), where imaginative and functional three dimensional solid objects are developed from digital files. Through experiments with algorithms Laarman has created unusual structures. These are not only aesthetic, many also have practical utility.
Featuring among Laarman’s work is the 3-D printable Makerchair. This can be downloaded from the Internet and produced by a 3-D printer. This has been developed at the Joris Laarman Lab in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The lab collaborates with craftsmen, scientists and engineers and the possibilities of emerging technologies as CNC systems, 3D printing, robotics and simulation software.
oris Laarman Lab; (from l to r): Diagonal Resin  Maze  Diamond  Puzzle Wood  and Diagonal Wood chair...
oris Laarman Lab; (from l to r): Diagonal Resin, Maze, Diamond, Puzzle Wood, and Diagonal Wood chairs, from Makerchair series, 2014; Assembled and adhered cnc-milled resin, walnut, maple; H x W x D (each): 78 × 54 × 65 cm (30 11/16 × 21 1/4 × 25 9/16 in.)
Joris Laarman Lab
Also included as part of the exhibition is Laarman’s break-through work described as ‘Bone Chair’. The form of the chair is derived from a computer algorithm that mimics bone growth. Through the algorithm, more material is generated where strength is needed whereas areas exposed to less stress require less material.
According to the artist, the Bone Chair is designed to demonstrate the digital era’s relationship with nature. Nature, according to the artist, is “no longer just a stylistic reference, nature provides the underlying principles for generating form.”
The exhibition also makes reference to the MX3D Bridge, which is a fully functional footbridge that can be printed using three dimensional printing technology in stainless steel. The bridge is being manufactured for a canal in Amsterdam with the help of advanced robotic technology. The bridge will be complete in 2018, according to The Guardian. This revolutionary digital manufacturing concept means that the metal can be 3-D printed in mid-air, without the need for a support structure.
Also among Laarman’s inventions is the Dragon Bench. This has been 3-D-printed using the MX3D process developed by Laarman, which requires the use of industrial robots together with an advanced welding machine designed to print metal structures in mid-air. The algorithmically generated forms appear in latticed, self-supporting pieces.
Laarman has exhibited at Cooper Hewitt; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Groninger Museum, Groningen, the Netherlands.