Organic and sensuous are not usually words you would associate with 3D printing, but they could certainly be used to describe the ceramic vessels currently being developed by Dutch design student Olivier van Herpt.
Van Herpt has created the Adaptive Manufacturing collection in collaboration with Dutch artist/designer Sander Wassink as part of an ongoing research project.
Inspired by natural textures such as tree bark, the forms and intricate surface decorations look handcrafted, but the vessels are entirely machine manufactured by a 3D printer. And that is what makes them so fascinating.
Van Herpt has captured this artisanal quality by introducing an ‘element of randomness’ into his bespoke-designed 3D printing process. This has been achieved by adapting the flow of liquid clay to the printer head to create the ‘imperfections’ we would normally associate with traditional craftsmanship.
‘van Herpt dealt with the limitations of 3D printing technology head-on by coming up with a machine, as well as a process, that made it possible to print medium and large-scale domestic objects from ceramics.’ Thomas Widdershoven, Design Academy Eindhoven
Although clay may seem an ideal material for 3D printing, it presents a number of challenges. If the liquid clay is too fluid, larger scale objects fold in themselves when printed. If too firm, the clay cannot flow through the printer head.
Van Herpt’s solution was to develop a large-scale 3D printer with industrial motors capable of forcing thickening clay through the extrusion nozzle. This would ultimately lead to him developing a printer capable of creating ‘human scale’ ceramic vessels.
As visible seams are an inherent part of the 3D printing process, Van Herpt’s response was to introduce intricate woven patterns and textures – as seen here in his earlier 3D Woven and Sediment works. The surface texture is not just practical, it also gives the work an artisan aesthetic.
These ceramic objects, which are part of van Herpt’s ongoing Functional 3D Printed Ceramics research project, are designed to be both decorative and functional.
Van Herpt’s Functional 3D Printed Ceramics were unveiled to much acclaim during Design Week in Milan earlier this year. He has subsequently been invited to exhibit his work in a number of high-profile design exhibitions in the Netherlands and overseas. Forthcoming exhibitions include ‘Twisting Tradition’ at the Mint showroom as part of the London Design Show which starts later this month.
When it comes to producing ceramic objects, Van Herpt’s innovative 3D printing processes are literally breaking the mould. We look forward to seeing the results of these research projects when he graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven later this year.
Explore the 3D printed ceramics projects at Olivier van Herpts website >
3D-printed ceramics are featured in <strong>Rhine Capital Partners</strong> investment reporting for August.
- On 27th August 2015