Design / Food
”The large-scale 3D-printing industry is evolving rapidly”
It’s now even entering hospitality and its Michelin Star restaurants.
27 Sep 2022

Stockholm-based creative studio Interesting Times Gang is at the intersection of design and technology. It uses a bio-composite made of recycled maritime gear, such as fishing nets and ropes, which is mixed with wood fibres, a recycled FSC-certified bi-product from the sawmill industry in Sweden as part of forest product manufacturer Stora Enso’s bio-composite offering. 

— These combined bio-composite materials are converted to granules which are then fed into an extruder, and when they are exposed to heat, they achieve a fluid-like quality, the studio’s head of design, Alexander Westerlund, explains. The 3D printer moves along on an uninterrupted linear path, building the object strand by strand, and the result is a wonderfully tactile, layered structure.

For its new contemporary sushi restaurant in central Stockholm, called Bazaar3.0, Swedish Michelin Star chefs Niclas Jönsson och Daniel Höglander asked Interesting Times Gang to design a furniture concept that is ”different to anything else that exists in the restaurant space”.

— They wanted it to respect the source of their ingredients and pay homage to their natural habitat, which is under tremendous existential threat. Not least because of ocean plastic and discarded ghost nets. So, we combined innovative technology, circular design and recycled materials to emulate the organic lines and flowing shapes of the underwater life in the ocean, says Westerlund. He continues:

— Since it is historically and economically challenging to create free-flowing objects with traditional production techniques, we turned to large-scale 3D printing, which results in a rawness and tactile experience in the final product. Our design is called The Kelp Chair and is a combination of gentle, aquatic curvature and achieving an authentic industrial honesty where the mix of different materials gives it its distinctive deep green hue, which is central in the chair’s design. 

You’ve explained that we will see even more furniture like this in restaurants and other public spaces onwards. Why?

— The large-scale 3D printing industry is evolving rapidly with the constant development of new materials, software, and technologies, says Westerlund. Recycled materials will be central to the future of a more circular economy and 3D printing reopens doors to a design language of softer organic shapes we haven’t seen for decades. It’s also far more sustainable as it provides the ability to print on demand and eliminates overproduction and waste. The materials can be reused and stay within a closed loop which is the ultimate circular design goal.

— However, years of accepting the limitations of traditional production methods have affected our collective design aesthetics as a society. It will take more brave clients to break the mould, and ’creative courage’ is not for everyone. Once people experience design environments and public spaces like these, we believe the entry barriers will be far lower — that’s our hypothesis.

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