August 1, 2013 AT 12:00 pm

3D Design Inspiration: Nomadic Furniture by Victor Papanek and James Hennessey #3DThursday #3DPrinting

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Each week, I share some of the books and other resources I have found profoundly inspiring in my investigation into 3D design for 3D printing. The full list lives here on the pinboard “3D Design to 3D Print Inspirations” and each #3DThursday I share about those that I most highly recommend.

Nomadic Furniture: D-I-Y Projects that are Lightweight & Light on the Environment

by James Hennessey & Victor Papanek

While the furniture ideas presented in this book are not, for the most part, ones that can be executed via 3D printing (though the hardware and joinery could certainly be 3D printed!), much of the fun and usefulness of this book are in the ideas and how the ideas are communicated on the page.

The influential 1970s era Nomadic Furniture 1 and Nomadic Furniture 2 books (both collected here in one volume) propose a bold revolution in furniture design philosophy — what would furniture look like if design re-centered its values on what humans really need, raising the value of the footprint of each element used through efficient and multi-use. I appreciate their invention of a visual style to communicate this, building arguments almost entirely visually, through the hand drawn illustrations on each page, rendered with just the details necessary to communicate the ideas for the use of each element to the reader.

While there are ways in which these two books are locked in the 1970s, thumbing through you’ll recognize many ideas that have spread everywhere, from IKEA to high design. And while you might not be 3D printing any furniture, it is worth your time to consider how these designs focus on getting maximum value out of the physical footprint of objects in terms of human use rather than convention. I find this book hugely helpful as I aim to get beyond the top-down blueprint to make objects and products that earn all of its components.

Thanks to Sean Michael Ragan for introducing me to this book from his CNC furniture research!

Here are notes from the publisher:

Victor Papanek and James Hennessey set out to change the world in the mid 1970s, empowering the people to create their own inexpensive furnishings. Their books, Nomadic Furniture 1 and Nomadic Furniture 2 are reprinted here in their entirety. In their vision of home design, everything is lightweight, folds, inflates, knocks down, stacks, or is disposable. They offer simple instructions for making beds, chairs, sofas, stools, and tables, using inexpensive and recycled materials. Their ideas open up channels for creativity, as well as for saving of money and lightening a household’s footprint. This practical, lighthearted approach to living is certainly worth a revisit, in a world where environmental consciousness is quickly evolving.

Read more.

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1 Comment

  1. I HAVE THAT BOOK!
    Awesome source for project ideas.

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