3-D printed home accessories and décor can be both inventive and useful — from offbeat cookie cutters and chopsticks holders to air plant vases and geometric lamps.
Like replicators on “Star Trek” — machines that materialize tomato soup and “Tea, Earl Gray, hot” for peckish starship crew members — 3-D printing has a distinctly sci-fi feel. While not a new technology, the process of producing solid, three-dimensional objects sans tool or molds isn’t ubiquitous either. Hence, the fantasy element.
“It’s like magic,” says animator Dave Lobser in a video for 3-D printing company Shapeways. “(It’s) being able to take things that only exist on screens and turn them into real objects that you can hold.”
Shapeways is headquartered in New York and, since 2007, has provided manufacturing services to thousands of creative types, like Lobser, who upload their 3-D designs to shapeways.com, choose from dozens of materials and finishes — e.g., sandstone, porcelain, 14-karat gold and bronze — then wait for their objects to be reviewed, printed and shipped. Not only does the company print items on demand, it also functions as a marketplace. The Etsy of 3-D printing, if you will.
It’s not all random tchotchkes either (though there are plenty of those). One section of the Shapeways marketplace is devoted to 3-D printed home accessories and décor, many of which are both inventive and useful: from offbeat cookie cutters and chopsticks holders to air plant vases and geometric lamps.
Among the more high-caliber objects are pinhole lampshades by Dutch designer Studio Jelle. These minimalist, gridlike pieces, made of strong white nylon plastic with a matte finish, are right in line with the industrial trend in modern lighting. Starting at $81, a pinhole shade can be used as either a pendant lamp — fixtures are extra — or positioned on the floor for an even more mod look. If guests to your home ask where you sourced it, just say it was magic.