This year 3D printing will be more present than ever during Milan Design Week, the week-long celebration of design that takes place yearly in the Northern Italian city during the week of Salone del Mobile, the World’s most important furniture design fair. The possibilities that new and more affordable 3D printing technologies offer to creative artists and professionals to go from abstract idea to a real physical object in a unified, localized and affordable (or at least more affordable) creative cycle finds in the design world a way to effectively convey the value of these processes even to a large public who is not yet fully familiar with them.
The more than twenty years of Italian industrial experience with additive manufacturing combined with the historic creativity leadership in design across Italy – as highlighted by the ever growing success of the Salone del Mobile – create a “perfect storm” that is rapidly transforming Italy into a major global hub for 3D printing at all levels.
An exploration of this “complete digital creative cycle” will be the focus of Synthesis a 3D printing exhibit (April 8, Autodesk Italy, Via Tortona 37 and April 10-12 at the Rha Exhibition Space, at 150 Via Alzaia Naviglio Grande), organized by Italian 3D printing website 3Discover.it. Among workshops on the potential of the new tools offered by Autodesk, Growthobjects, a team of designers from Barcelona, will create a new work in real time using the XFAB, a new SL 3D printer produced by DWS, a company based in Vicenza, which is one of the top global manufacturer of industrial SL 3D printers.
Another fascinating aspect of 3D printing is the way it will allow creation of objects designed to the specific requirements of each person, and in particular for people with special needs: the Design in the Dark event (April 8th – 13th, Giovanni Sacchi Archive, Museum of the Carropont), organized by the Physical Computing (Phy.Co.) Laboratory of the Politecnico Milano Bovisa, will ask four blind people to create four designs for everyday objects through 3D printing.
The immediacy of the different 3D printing technologies will also give life to three different design contests. For the Motorcycle Design Workshop (April 7th – 13th, Ventura Design District) the European Institute of Design (IED) in partnership EICMA and DiFerro Motorcycle will ask design students to create models of a new bike (based on a Kawasaki W800 ) to be printed in 3D.
One of the main Fuorisalone venues, Superstudio +, will host the Design Contest 2014 (April 8 to 13 in Zona Tortona) where competitors will be asked to build prototypes in carbon fibre by integrating 3D printing through the machines made available by the Italian manufacturer WASP.
Furniture design will be the focus of Open Kitchen (Workshop April 6th – 11th, Expo on April 12th and 13th, Valcucine Showroom ), developed in partnership with Arduino and dotdotdot studio. The contest will see several participants involved in a collaborative and participatory project based on the theme of kitchen design.
The FabLab Milano is attending another food related event: World Pasta (opening on April 9th and running until the 13th, Via Conte Rosso 22, Zona Ventura Lambrate ), in which a 3D printer will be modified to print with fresh egg pasta dough, along with Tecnificio and Subalterno studios.
It is not over: two pioneering Italian companies in the field of design applied to 3D printing, .exnovo and .bijouets, will be present in three different events: .exnovo, which mainly produces chandeliers and lighting items, including the “Afilia” lamps by Alessandro Zambelli, will exhibit in two locations (April 8th -13th at 27 Via Solferino and 12 Via Varese), while .bijouets will be featured with its 3D printed jewellery for the opening of Idea Factory 3D, the first 3D printing shop in the world with an EOS Fomriga 110 on its premises, on April 10th in Via Sapeto 3 (Porta Genova area).
There will also be many other events where 3D printing will play a less striking role, and will be, more simply, the ideal tools used to create amazing objects and give free rein to the designer’s imagination. And this is probably the most important aspect of Design Week 2014.