FutureFactories – Creative Personalisation
Lionel Dean is an Engineer, Designer and Artist at FutureFactories: a digital manufacturing (Rapid Prototyping) concept for the mass individualization of products. In partnership with 3T RPD Ltd, Lionel has taken Philippe Stark’s iconic Louis Ghost chair and fitted an alternative back to it, which has been created using the plastic Additive Manufacturing (Selective Laser Sintering) technology at 3T.
Each chair back is designed using a form of intelligent software that starts with a virtual template which then evolves by rebuilding itself in real-time, finally creating a unique design. As a consequence, no two iterations are ever the same and every hybrid chair manufactured is a one-off.
Plastic AM lends itself perfectly to this concept, as individual designs can be quickly and accurately reproduced, with high levels of complexity being achieved. 3T has some of the world’s largest laser sintering machines at their purpose built facility in Newbury, Berkshire, and each chair back can therefore be built in one complete piece, avoiding the need for joins which may adversely affect the functionality and aesthetic appearance of the design.
The project has been a great success and has been featured in many design magazines and on influential design websites, including Core77 and DesignSpotter. The chairs have also been featured at several acclaimed exhibitions: the Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders in Lancaster in October 2006; the Milan Design Week in April 2007; the DesignMai Festival in Berlin during May 2007; and they will appear at the London Design Festival in September 2007.
“I’m not suggesting that the design needs improving” states Dean, “I am pointing out the creative possibilities for adaptation and personalization that digital technologies offer”.