The designer Philipp Aduatz presents stylish new 3D-printed, gradient-colored concrete furniture made of concrete
The Viennese designer Philipp Aduatz has worked with the 3D printing specialist incremental3d to create a furniture collection with unique aesthetic qualities.
In an innovative approach, the architects extruded a mixture of colored dyes and concrete into a range of brightly colored decorations, including a chair, benches and a large vase. By applying the dyes straight from the nozzle of the 3D printer, the team was able to not only create sturdy interiors with stylishly tinted color gradients, but also reduce the workload, waste and lead times associated with their production.
“I believe that the gradient is a fundamental design principle with regard to the perception of the environment and its digital reflection,” explained Aduatz. “It has a mathematical aesthetic and precision that I’ve always admired. With this project, I want to combine the design of the gradient with various functional objects through the use of innovative manufacturing technologies. “
“For many years I have been obsessed with the concept of a gradient that, for me, reflects elegance and harmony.”
A unique furnishing technique
Incremental3d was founded in 2017 by Georg Grasser, Johannes Ladinig and Lukas Härtenberger with the aim of commercializing a new type of printing process that they jointly developed at the Austrian University of Innsbruck. With the help of six-axis robotics, the engineers’ technology enables the production of ultra-fine, detailed concrete structures with an FFF-like level of precision and resolution.
Unlike many traditional concrete 3D printers, the engineers’ system can also create freeform structures without assistance, potentially making it a powerful new tool for designers. In order to test the full functionality of its technology, incremental3d has worked closely with Aduatz over the past three years, developing a number of large-format elements for interior design.
During the 2018 Milan Design Week, the Austrian team exhibited a 3D-printed chaise longue sofa before showing off a number of other prototypes at the RobArch conference in Zurich later that year. Since then, the company has continued to work with Aduatz to find new uses for its technology and conduct research that has resulted in a colorful array of new additions to their shared architecture portfolio.
Designer Philipp Aduatz and his large-format 3D-printed gradient vase. Photo via Paris Tsitsos.
Vibrant 3D printed decor
As part of their most recent joint project, Aduatz and incremental3D optimized the company’s best practice to enable the manufacture of soft concrete structures. By adding dyes directly into their system’s nozzles during printing, the designers were able to file the colors essentially locally, point-by-point, rather than globally, resulting in unique gradient designs.
Since concrete inherently has minimal tensile strength, the Austrian team had to develop a new reinforcement technology during research and development to carry the load on its collection. To achieve this, the designers followed a “semi-automatic” building strategy in which 3D printed concrete was seamlessly complemented with steel to reinforce the novel decor without detracting from its vibrant aesthetic.
The newly improved technology has ultimately led to a range of limited edition furnishing products, including an armchair, a gradient stool and benches measuring up to 230 x 56 x 45 cm. Using an advanced computer graphics technique called subdivision modeling, the designers were also able to create a large gradient vase measuring 60 x 60 x 152 cm.
The technology essentially involves the use of a recursive algorithm to create a polygonal mesh that acts as a functional boundary and inner mesh to support the part structure. As an added benefit, the software also allows the model’s polygonal faces to be iteratively subdivided into smaller areas, turning the rough mesh into an elegant, smooth, and precisely curved surface.
Each of the resulting product designs are produced in limited editions and are available in shades of red, blue, beige, green and black. While up to fifty of the stool, bench and vase designs by the designers will be produced, the larger format 108 x 95 x 102 cm will be even rarer, only eight are in the works.
Only eight of Philipp Aduatz’s limited-edition gradient armchairs (picture) are to be produced. Photo via Paris Tsitsos.
Interior design innovation
3D printing is constantly finding new applications in architecture and interior design. Projects often use very different materials to create furniture with unique properties. For example, researchers at TU Delft have developed a TPE-based 3D-printed chaise longue that is able to reverse its structure and turn into a bed if necessary.
Dutch design studio The New Raw has taken a more sustainable approach to architecture by enabling the manufacture of 3D printed benches from recycled plastic waste. Developed as part of the larger Print Your City project, the company’s customization software enables everyday citizens to design their own piece of urban furniture with great precision.
Similarly, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed laboratory-grown wood cells that can be used as a means of environmentally friendly 3D printing of furniture. The team hopes that its biomaterial can be used in the future as a synthetic alternative to normal wood in the manufacture of household products and will help alleviate the global deforestation crisis.
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The picture shown shows the designer Philipp Aduatz, who is sitting on his 3D-printed color gradient. Photo via Paris Tsitsos.