Fashion designers and manufacturing companies may have been experimenting with the possibilities of 3D printing, but so have artists and interior designers, often coming up with special projects involving not just plastic filaments but powder-based materials, such as ceramics.
A graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven and the recipient of the Keep an Eye Grant, van Herpt has so far exhibited in Milan, Paris, and New York. He prints his pieces layer by layer, so that the objects have a fine, smooth texture that is inaccessible by hand.
While clay is also a capricious material, the printer is extremely sensitive to external stimuli and vibration, so that the designer can influence the machine while printing. The result is an artisanal product that, being made with the latest technology and cutting edge fabrication methods, but still being unique and reproducing techniques such as weave patterns originally made by hand by skilled artisans, bridges the gap between technology and craft.
Van Herpt developed a way to print his pieces since he felt frustrated by the results he could obtain from desktop 3D printers, only capable to produce relatively small objects low in heat resistance and not food safe (or food safe but extremely expensive to manufacture...). He therefore came up with his own 3D printer and 3D printing process that could make large and medium scale functional 3D printed ceramic pieces with higher levels of detail.
Entitled "Design #1 Olivier van Herpt", the Princessehof exhibition will feature the machine (Heprt will also showcase it live in April, May and June) and 30 printed objects, varying greatly in colour, size, shape and texture.
The most interesting objects are the ones that emerged from collaborations and that could be considered as dynamic artefacts for the modern age given their architecturally intriguing shapes.
Herpt experimented with sound artist Ricky Van Broekhoven, studying the effects of noise on the production process with sound waves affecting the texture of the printed objects. The resulting pieces bear the imprint of the playback sound. Together with designer Sander Wassink, Herpt also developed Adaptive Manufacturing, scanning the cross section of a tree trunk and translating it to the printer. This resulted into irregular shapes influenced by the growth rings of the tree in the printed ceramics.
Apart from the 3D printed technique, ven Herpt's work is interesting since it employs clay, one of the most ancient and technically challenging materials, proving that our collective heritage can be the starting point to produce innovative designs and manufacturing methods that can push a traditional media at the forefront of modern materials science.
Design #1 Olivier van Herpt, Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, 27th February - 2nd October 2016.
Image credits for this post
1. Functional 3D Printed Ceramics © Design Academy Eindhoven, Designer: Olivier van Herpt. Photography: Femke Rijerman
2. An object designed by Olivier van Herpt © Olivier van Herpt
3. Series of vases by Herpt and Wassink © Olivier van Herpt. Photography: Dirk van den Heuvel
4. Work in process © Olivier van Herpt
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