Imagine watching an intricate light fixture materialize before your eyes with the push of a button. This is the reality of 3D printing — a technology that emerged nearly three decades ago but has just started to realize its endless potential in the home décor and design world.
The process of 3D printing is simpler than its sci-fi premise may lead you to believe — a designer creates a 3D computer model and sends it to the printer, which layers the designer’s chosen materials to construct an object from the bottom up. It’s relatively inexpensive and gives designers the ability to create highly customizable products on demand, while leaving plenty of room for experimentation and creativity along the way. Whether you’re seeking gilded hardware for your kitchen, or a quirky chandelier for the dining room, 3D printing can make your design dreams come to life with unparalleled ease.
From faucets to picture frames, check out some of the design innovations that have emerged through the power of 3D printing.
Cutlery with Character
When the technology to print 3D objects first surfaced, printers were only capable of producing items made from plastic. Since then, the materials that can be used range from porcelain to precious metals, making it possible to create items that are both functional and refined. Because of their small size, utensils, which do not require an especially large printer and can be crafted quickly, are an obvious choice. This set of pure, 18-karat gold cutlery is a prime example of the artistic edge that can be infused into everyday items when made via 3D printer.
Designed by DXV for American Standard, this bathroom faucet is one of a number of models that turns the monotony of washing your hands into an extraordinary experience. According to Jean-Jacques L’Henaff, Vice President of Design for American Standard, this faucet would not be possible without the technology of 3D printing.
Light it Up
From light fixtures that take on the appearance of lace to bicycle-gear-shaped chandeliers, lighting designers have embraced 3D printing to create functional art for the home. Artists Linlin and Pierre Yves used a complex filigreed technique to put a unique spin on traditional lighting by crafting animal sculptures that glow from within.
3D printers make it possible to produce distinctively artistic chandeliers that range in style, size, and design aesthetic. For example, chandelier designer Michael McHale uses 3D printers to craft frames for crystal pendants, while Robert Debbane illuminates tessellations and geometric patterns within each of his modern designs.
Though few 3D printers are large enough to produce a pre-assembled chair, it is possible to print the separate parts one-by-one and assemble them to incredible tolerances. Unlike a chair purchased at IKEA, it’s very difficult to tell if a 3D printed piece was printed as a whole or constructed from individually printed parts. Smaller decorative furnishings like creative containers, stools, and planters are less expensive, easier to print yourself, and add visual interest to any interior.
Aside from the energy needed to create products with a 3D printer, the wide range of materials a printer can accommodate opens up new potential for environmentally-friendly furniture and décor. Raw materials like reinforced wood combined with cement polymer and salt are behind many of the designs from 3D printed décor manufacturer, Emerging Objects. 3D printing makes it possible to create locally made designs that produce little to no excess waste during the manufacturing process, like the wooden bowl and tile planter shown above.
The technology of 3D printing provides the means to prototype designs that cannot be made through traditional manufacturing, which has opened the door to virtually limitless possibilities for the interior design industry. With the ability for intricate designs to spring directly from the imagination into real life, it’s safe to say that the capacity to personalize décor, and exercise creativity through 3D printing will only continue to grow.