The Dutch designer Dirk van der Kooij recently presented his new chair ‘Endless’. Considering the high investments for complicated moulds that one usually has to make for automated processes the Eindhoven graduate developed a system which enables serial, automated production independent from the object’s design: He taught a robot his new craft, drawing furniture out of one endlessly long plastic string.
Here with the designer’s own words:
“One plastic string, made out of old refrigerators, crafted by a robot, into a chair.
When the first plastic chairs were made, they began with fairly simple tools and moulds to form the plastic. The simple tools were easy to adjust and this gave the designer the chance to evaluate the final product and adjust the tools almost endlessly.
As labour grew more and more expensive, it was filtered out of the process with automated and complicated tools.
These automated processes have been very inflexible until now. High investments in complicated moulds made it almost impossible for a designer to evaluate and refine his final object. The designer is no longer involved in the production process and the design stage is completely shifted to a pre production phase.”
“As I considered this a lost chance I made a pact with the devil, because I found a solution, not in labour but in computerization.
By combining different techniques, I was able to design an automated but very flexible process. I taught a robot his new craft, drawing furniture out of one endlessly long plastic string.
This opened the possibility for me to design in the good old-fashioned way, making a chair, evaluating, refining, making a chair, evaluating, refining and making a chair. Or developing an infinitely large collection of variations. Endlessly.”