Over the past 5 years at Milan's annual Design Week festival and international furniture fair, 3D printing has been the white elephant in the room – lot's of playful installations but not a lot of discussion by designers about how the technology is going to change their industry. Up until now. This year designer Diederik Schneemann exhibited 'Mash-Up', a chair that has brought the discussion to the table. Made up of five recognisable elements – the seat and legs belong to the DCW chair by Charles and Ray Eames; the arms are from a Cherner chair; the back legs from Arne Jacobsen's Grand Prix; the front legs from Rietveld's Red/Blue chair; and a small section of the Orb chair by Ross Lovegrove – all small enough to be manufactured using a standard 3D printer. The idea for the mash up was most likely sparked by the 2010 release of Philippe Starck's Masters chair for Kartell, designed as a tribute to three of the world's most famous chairs by Arne Jacobsen, Eero Saarinen and Ray and Charles Eames. The point that Diederik Schneemann is making centres on the protection of a designer's intellectual property. So the big question now is how designers and manufacturers will embrace this technology.
In a recent article published in The New York Times, design writer Alice Rawsthorn takes a look at the impact of 3D printers on the traditions of the London design scene, an important example of the changes facing design communities in cities around the world. Read the full story here. Watch Schneemann's mash-up film here.