COS × MAMOU-MANI
Salone del Mobile
April 2019, Milan
For our eighth year at international design fair Salone del Mobile in Milan, we have partnered with architect Arthur Mamou-Mani and his team to create Conifera, an installation made from 3D-printed bioplastic bricks.
Previously, industry moved towards factory output and away from the designer or architect as creator. The 3D-printing process is far more holistic, putting them front and centre – starting with the initial idea and ending with the finished work.
Throughout history, artists, designers and architects alike have sought to emulate the intricacy of nature’s architecture, looking to the beauty of a rose or a spider’s web. Both machinery and the human hand often fall short when it comes to these levels of complexity. This futuristic technology could actually provide the detail craftsmen have been craving for centuries, bringing them closer to their creations in an unexpected way.
With dedicated research groups working towards biologically inspired construction, 3D printing has already begun to look to nature, from building materials that mimic bone to advances like Project Silkworm – the open-source software developed by Arthur Mamou-Mani and Adam Holloway, inspired by how the silkworm weaves its cocoon. Such inventions could clearly have dramatic effects, whether in biological science or architecture and design.
Aside from the sheer possibility of material innovation, the real thing that 3D printing offers designers is freedom. Simply the ability to produce a model quickly and easily in your own studio could transform design and architecture. It puts the onus back on the designer as thinker and maker, harking back to the approach of Mid-Century Modernism, but without a hint of nostalgia. Instead it focuses on the movement’s core values: social and material innovation, and, above all, embracing the potential of technology.
By Billie Muraben, arts and culture writer