Got an idea you'd like to fabricate from 3D plans into an actual 3D object? Shapeways is an online fabrication company which allows designers to see their creations come to fruition in a 4 step process, from plan to an actual product in your hands. The company recently invited Unplggd to join a panel of 3 judges for their Shapeways 2011 ICFF Design Contest and the winning design was revealed this weekend at ICFF...The jury was made up by Suzanne LaBarre of Co. Design, Josh Mings of SolidSmack.com, and myself, representing Apartment Therapy Unplggd. As a group, we crowned Dominik Raskin's Holder as first place winner, with the design 3D printed and on display at the ICFF this weekend:
The pen holder was design from the idea to create a minimal surface from which 2 functionalities could emerge, in this case the penholder and paper tray. Adjustments were made to the initial shape to reduce material and costs without jeopardizing stability. First the mesh was tessellated and only the ribs maintained, than the base of the object was made smaller. This all added up to become a dynamic and novel shape.
Here's what we thought of the design: "If you've ever seen dimensional illustrations exhibiting the effects of gravity and black holes deforming space-time, they look strikingly similar to the ornate symmetry exhibited here, transforming what is usually the most mundane of products, a paper tray, and injecting an element of motion and direction all across its surface.
There's also an entomological element which reminds of the strength and inherent beauty of insect wings, and the wave-like form (which at first glance I thought was a table) adds a playful temptation, inviting one to place something on its end, if only to see if the design counterbalances the weight. Overall, my favourite in form and function."
It was a fascinating opportunity to see a design transformed from a 3D model on a screen to a manufactured, tactile piece, showcased alongside many other 3D printed designs from the Shapeways archives. Although the design was impressive conceptually, in actual production, Dominik's design lacked structural rigidness and the paper holding plane sagged unfortunately. But product design often requires multiple sample designs for production, so we'd gander this might just be only the first step in Dominik's design journey with this promising design.
An example of the tactile quality achievable with 3D printing.
All the entrants of the Shapeways ICFF 11 Design Contest are viewable online.