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Dutch Designer Prints Office Furniture

Thanks to Netherlands designer Dirk van der Kooij, we can add office furniture to the list of things created on a 3D printer.

Endless

Van der Kooij starts with plastic, recycled from discarded refrigerators. He grinds this into a pulp and extrudes it from a 3D printer in a filament about the thickness of your finger. The relatively large size of this “string” allows him to print at low resolution and high speed.

The result: One long, long plastic string, made out of material recovered from old refrigerators, crafted by a 3D printer into an office chair. Van der Kooij calls it his Endless Chair.

In his own mind, what Dirk van der Kooij has created is not a chair or even a concept for office furniture but a production process. He — as well as other designers, following his example — are able to develop ideas and create a prototype. They are then free to test it and make refinements and then generate an improved model. They can repeat this cycle as many times as they want. Hence the name, Endless — a collection that allows for an infinite variety of variations.

Refining the process

The idea has grown from a single chair into an entire range of products, all with the same open and visible production process. Van der Kooij, clearly a tinkerer at heart, never stops fiddling with the computer-controlled 3D printer he calls his “robot”. His next product line, Gispen, was just a refinement of the process he developed with Endless.

To this point, all of his products have been executed in plastic.

Van der Kooij explians: “I wanted to use plastic because it has a lot of opportunities as a material and I wanted to show a different approach, and perhaps a sort of unorthodox approach of plastic. By using recycled plastic the history of the material becomes visible. The colours will have shades and thereby every chair is unique.”

All of his products are made out a single run and in one piece, requiring no screws or joins. At the end of the piece’s useful life, the only thing that’s left is the original material and this can easily be shredded and recycled into a new object.

Superstardom

Dirk van der Kooij is a name that has been on the “A” list in recent years in professional design circles. He is invited to speak at international conferences and trade shows. His creations are sought out and acquired by avid collectors worldwide. Is this what he had in mind when he started?

He says, “One of my dreams is to have a small factory and continue with these kind of projects. With this robot-project I want to go on until I find the borders of its production. Perhaps it will become a mass-production robot in the future.”

“I like to make honest designs,” he says, “where the design itself tells people the tale of its own development. For me this is an integral part of designing. People should be able to understand a product. In the Endless chairs you can see that the chairs are built up out of one plastic string, without these complicated moulds. So this was in fact my main goal.”

You can read all about van der Kooij and his latest projects on his site: http://www.dirkvanderkooij.nl/en.

About the author:

James has been a writer all his life. As a technical writer he pioneered online documentation and wrote end-user documentation for several computer manufacturers. His manuals have been praised in PCMagazine and Wired, among others. During a 14 year career in the U.S. navy (as a carrier jet aviator) James wrote a number of technical and classified publications. James has also written two novels and one stage play.

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  • User Gravatar Perfect Synergy
    June 16th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    These 3D furniture are super ace. Not only are they chic and artsy, the fact that they are made from plastic recycled from discarded refrigerators make them even more fantastic. I certainly would fancy these 3D furniture in my office.

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