July 12, 2015 | By Alec

Although it may not receive the same amount of attention as other details of an interior space - such as furniture or architectural layout - the lighting of a space can be one of the most critical components of a good interior design.

Whether an architect has taken careful consideration into positioning windows in relation to a building’s position during specific times of day for natural light or if an interior designer has used a state-of-the-art lighting system, the lighting can ultimately have one of the most dramatic effects on an interior design.  

But as we continue to find new ways of using 3D printing to manufacture our goods and rethink existing products with a focus on customization, is it possible that interior lighting could be customized with additive manufacturing technologies?

This is what Delft University of Technology student M. Grossl recently explored in a project for his final year project and the results are nothing short of impressive.  The project is also currently a contender for the Luxexcel Innovative Application Student Award 2015.  

With the goal of developing a solution that can help architects and interior designers better work within buildings that have been abandoned and have poor natural lighting, Grossl’s resulting STUTTGART 3D printed optical lighting system is an ingenious solution that aims to help with an abandoned building’s transformation into a usable structure.   

The STUTTGART system makes use of 3D printed elements to form a modular honeycomb structure that can be customized to fit virtually any interior space.  The resulting system aims to be as close to natural lighting as possible by emulating the same experience.  Grossl has even stated that it could be used to turn large open spaces - such as an abandoned swimming pool - into something usable such as a restaurant.     

To light the interiors, STUTTGART functions as a lighting extension for natural daylight similar to existing systems that use collected daylight forced through a fiber optic.  Each lighting element consists of five glass fiber optics.  In addition to feeding usable light, the fiber optics also function as a support for hanging the honeycomb structure from the ceiling, too.  In the case that there is no daylight available, artificial lights from LEDs can be adapted to the needs of the end user.  

According to Grossl, the structure makes use of magnets to allow it to be detached from the ceiling, if necessary.  In total, there are five ‘cells’ for each side of the individual honeycomb structures that can be customized to allow the desired amount of light through.  If an architect or designer chooses to use the STUTTGART system for their project, a STUTTGART designer can customize the lens shapes of the honeycomb using 3D printing.  The final installation includes assembling the 3D printed elements, attaching the lenses and couplers and ultimately, attaching the unit to the ceiling.  

While the design is currently just a concept right now, it will be interesting to see if Grossl can fine tune it into a viable product offering if he wins the contest.  Among other benefits of a lighting system such as this include the ability to not only customize a light design but also the light itself, the ability to work with a single lighting system in multiple room types and of course, the use of additive manufacturing technologies helps reduce steps in the supply chain and reduces the amount of materials needed to bring the design to fruition.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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