Biomimicry by Lilian van Daal features a piece of furniture that was produced from a single material
For her graduation project at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, industrial designer Lilian van Daal developed a concept 3D-printed soft chair called Biomimicry, which has a design structure inspired by the structure of plant cells.
Van Daal’s concept soft chair can be 3D-printed from a single material. The goal of the project was to create a piece of upholstery that can be created through a sustainable production process and can be easily recycled because it does not require different types of materials, like foam, padding, covers, and a frame – typical materials that make up most soft seats.
The designer’s “Biomimicry: 3D-Printed Soft Seat” project allows for a soft seat to be manufactured using a single material and in a single factory or venue. The 3D-printed soft seat can potentially reduce pollution and waste that result from production and transport. The 3D-printed soft chair is also easily recyclable because it only consists of one material instead of several types that are glued or nailed together.
Van Daal looked for ways to create a soft chair from one type of material and retain the basic features required for the item to function as a chair. The chair needed to be firm and rigid in some areas and soft in other areas, and Van Daal experimented with various geometric structures to come up with a structure suitable for her design concept. The designer used nature as inspiration and studied the structure of plant cells – whose structural design allows them to perform different functions.
The structure of the concept soft chair has different densities in different areas. For the soft seating area, the density of the material was reduced and for the legs and base, the density of the material was increased to give that part of the chair the necessary structural strength for it to be functional.
Fortunately, 3D-printing technology makes it possible to produce a structure as complex as Van Daal’s chair concept, and the designer was able to develop a design and model of the chair using 3D modelling software and then print it. Van Daal’s first working prototype of the Biomimicry soft chair was made possible with 3D Systems Benelux.
The designer is reportedly looking into developing the project further with leading furniture manufacturers.