Tessa’s Designer Pick – Neri Oxman and 3D Printing

2021-06-04

Tessa Blokland  

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This month I have dedicated the Designer Pick on American-Israeli designer, Neri Oxman. She is a designer and associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs the Mediated Matter research group. As the website mentions, “the Mediated Matter group focuses on the nature-inspired design and design-inspired nature. They conduct research at the intersection of computational design, digital fabrication, materials science, and synthetic biology, and apply that knowledge to design across scales—from the microscale to the building scale. The research team creates biologically inspired and engineered design fabrication tools and technologies and structures aiming to enhance the relation between natural and man-made environments.” The goal is to enhance the relation between natural and man-made environments by achieving high degrees of design customization and versatility, environmental performance integration, and material efficiency.

The first glass 3D Printing project (G3DP) focussed on 3D printing optically transparent glass.  The next step in G3DP was to 3D print projects on an architectural scale (see also the top image). On the website, you can read that “G3DP2 transcends its predecessor by restructuring the machine’s architecture and process control operations as informed by material properties and behaviors of silicate glass to 3D print building components with tunable and predictable mechanical and optical properties. This new manufacturing platform includes a digitally integrated thermal control system—to accompany the various stages of glass-forming – as well as a novel 4-axis motion control system permitting flow control, spatial accuracy and precision, and faster production rates with continuous deposition of up to 30kg of molten glass.”

The object you see here is called Gemini, a two-part chaise lounge. A solid CNC milled wooden shell is covered with a 3D printed skin consisting out of 44 composite PolyJet digital material combinations in varying shades of transparent and opaque yellows and oranges. The chaise lounge is a collaboration between Oxman, professor W Craig Carter, and professor Tod Machover, and produced on a Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 3D Printer.

Another collaboration with Stratasys Art, Design and Fashion is this 3D-printed corset, Arachne, inspired by the construction of a spider’s web. The piece combines shades of blue and white in both rigid and flexible materials, providing a protective armor for the rib cage, while the softer materials around the inter-costal muscles enhance movement and comfort.

From the Wanderers series, I have chosen l-Qamar, a 3D printed wearable, which is design to contain and generate life-sustaining elements. The series was the first color, multi-material, 3D printed range of wearables aiming to embed living matter within 3D structures that augment the environment, enabling visitation to these deadly environments. Oxman designed all the wearable in collaboration with Christoph Bader and Dominik Kolb and created for and in collaboration with Stratasys.

The last 3D printed project from Oxman I would like to feature is a 3D printed cape, designed in collaboration with Iris van Herpen for her fashion show in 2013. The variety in softness and elasticity in the cape inspired the designers to create a “second skin” for the body acting as armor-in-motion; allowing them to design not only the garment’s form but also its motion.

Neri Oxman.

LEO Lane_Designer Pick_NeriOxman and 3D Printing

Each of Tessa’s designer pick is a curated group of 3D printed designs or projects from one designer or design studio. If you would like to offer a designer or design studio for Tessa, or if you have your 3D printed designs or projects you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest picks every week in your mailbox.

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