A first for 3D Printing in Commercial Furniture Design – RIO

Created by Mehran Gharleghi from Studio INTEGRATE and Morgan Studio, RIO is ground-breaking in using 3D printing to create beautiful, comfortable and robust chairs for the commercial furniture market.

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RIO explores the relationship of the craft of yesterday with the craft of tomorrow. Is technology dictating the new aesthetic? Can tradition, innovation and comfort be combined? These are the questions that inspired the new collection. The resulting designs combine renowned timber craftsmanship from Morgan with Mehran’s talent for re-thinking materials and applying techniques that have only previously been used experimentally – in this case 3D printing. He uses a polyamide to give a white textured finish and also a smooth metallised resin.
Morgan Design Director, Katerina McMahon comments, “This is an exciting new departure for us at Morgan and indeed new for the market. 3D printing is recognised commercially for small items like jewellery and accessories and then many experimental projects but not much in between. Not yet featured in furniture for a wider audience.”

Three versions of RIO all present a clearly expressed structure: with tactile timber back, minimal but comfortable upholstered back or 3D printed intricate lattice framework.
The design for RIO was already underway by Morgan when the two companies joined forces, so Mehran’s objectives were to retain the existing design form, push the boundaries of design using 3D printing and create subtle variations in each chair. This was achieved using a mathematical algorithm and making small adjustments to it for a set of 6 3D printed chairs, so each of the 6 is slightly different as if carved by hand.
Mehran explains, “We had achieved the right shape but wanted to add something new. I removed as much material as possible to make the backrest lighter and flexible for extra comfort, while maintaining its strength. The final design resulted in a form which looks like inner structures of bone. It is nice to touch and there are no joints, even the connections to the chair base are from the same single piece of polyamide, making it incredibly strong. Each chair takes 24 hours to print.”
The new RIO collection was launched during the London Design Festival and can be viewed at Morgan’s showroom in Clerkenwell.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys' experience as a furniture designer, along with her in-depth marketing knowledge, makes her uniquely placed to work with the BCFA as the Editor of Design Insider and run her marketing business, Method Communications.
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