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3D PRINTING REVOLUTION

3D PRINTING REVOLUTION

April 2016

3D printing technology is opening up windows of opportunities for interior designers to create previously unimaginable structures and innovative designs for lovers of unique interiors.

Just under 20 years ago interior design meant wall paper, fabrics and feng shui. Today, it still includes some of those factors, although there’s a new kid on the block that’s proving to be a game changer: 3D printing.

3D printing technology is changing industries across the globe and is pegged as one of this year’s hottest design trends. At its most basic, 3D printing creates solid objects based on digitally mapped designs on a computer.

“In other words, 3D printing allows a designer to draw any object, which will then be made into reality by a computer. Forms that would be impossible to make using traditional methods are now feasible,” says Daousser Chennoufi, Chairman of the Draw Link Group, a Dubai-based interior design firm.

American economist and social theorist, Jeremy Rifkin believes that 3D printing signals the beginning of a third industrial revolution. He might be onto something, considering that for designers and scientists the possibilities are endless – from lamps, chairs, speakers, tables and even the world’s first 3D printed lower jaw for an 83-year-old woman.

For the design world it’s a two-pronged issue. On one hand 3D printing gives total creative freedom to designers while offering an abundance of choices to end-users. On the other hand critics argue that it reduces the role of creativity within the design process and is far too reliant on technology.

THE TREND SO FAR

3D printing has paved the way for innovative designs. The mushrooming phenomenon has already made an impression on the design world, with several design studios around the world creating 3D printed décor for homes and offices. Thanks to the technology consumers can fully customise on-demand furniture, houseware, jewellery and even trinkets.

Most 3D printers use software that translates a rendering into a series of sections – the process is called additive manufacturing and can turn out finished items in resin, plastic or metal.

Chennoufi of Draw Link Group says that with 3D printing it will be possible to produce the impossible “without being limited by factors such as gravity and force etc., so fully customised on-demand options will be possible to realise.”

For Chennoufi 3D printing has both financial and environmental benefits. “The technology is continuing to develop, and it will eventually become less time consuming and costly to print than mass produce items using moulds.”

Mass production and distribution of wide-format 3D printed products hasn’t taken off yet, but several designers and craftsmen have created their own line of products using 3D printing.

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