Jan 16, 2017 | By Tess
London-based architect Gilles Retsin, a former student of the Architectural Association in London, is known for integrating and exploring the role of technology in the field of architecture and design. Unsurprisingly, 3D printing has played a big part in his explorations. For instance, the architect has been part of an ongoing research project in collaboration with students from The Bartlett (the architecture school of University College London) which has 3D printing and mereology (the study of the relation between parts and wholes) at its core.
The project, called Bartlett RC4, consists of a series of exquisitely designed chairs, each with a distinct style. And while each chair is striking from a design perspective—one of the chairs, which appears to have been 3D printed using a robotic arm, features a complex and intricate structure that evokes a sort of warped-skeletal aesthetic—it is the idea behind the pieces that is perhaps most fascinating.
The research, co-led by Retsin, Manuel Jimenez Garcia, and Vicente Soler, and conducted by a team of students, is exploring the benefits of digital (or discrete) fabrication processes versus continuous fabrication processes, which have limitations in terms of multi-materiality, structural performance, and more. Discrete fabrication processes, which include assemblage, voxelprinting, and 3D printing, “are based on a small number of different parts connecting with only a limited number of connection possibilities.”
As the research project description continues to read, “The design possibility, or the way how elements can combine and aggregate is defined by the geometry of the element itself - which leads to a “tool-less” assembly. The geometry of the parts being assembled provides the dimensional constraints required to precisely achieve complex forms. This year’s research will explore fabrication techniques which are digital, rather than analog, discrete rather than continuous and increasingly fast and assemblage-based.”
The chairs each seem to represent the three discrete fabrication methods: 3D printing, assemblage, and voxelprinting. Not unlike a Lego construction, the chairs are made up of smaller parts which are carefully assembled by a robotic arm. In keeping with the mereology approach, each piece of furniture’s shape is determined in part by the objects it is made up of. That is, while each chair seems to be based around a similar shape and structure, each mode of fabricating it results in a totally different aesthetic and slight differences in construction.
All in all, whether or not you’d feature one of the chairs in your own living room, it is hard to deny the craft and vision that has gone into the chairs. We can’t wait to see what else Retsin and the Bartlett students come up with next.
Posted in 3D Printing Technology
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MM wrote at 1/17/2017 7:49:30 PM:
Stunningly fugly IMHO