The Trabecula Bench

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By Virginia Gardiner
Freedom of Creation—In recent decades, computer-aided design (CAD) has transcended the screen, thanks to the advent of automatic fabrication, a process wherein three-dimensional objects take shape by rapidly building up thin layers of material based on a digital model. It sounds like science fiction, but the technologies are simple; soon you’ll even be able to make a 3-D printer at home for about $600 (reprap.org).

While most designers avail themselves of rapid prototyping, few have begun using the machines for rapid manufacturing. Freedom of Creation (FOC) leads the way with their Trabecula bench, one of the largest rapid-manufactured furniture pieces at six feet long, two feet high, and just 14 pounds. Dwell talked fabbing with Janne Kyttänen, a designer at Amsterdam-based FOC, and paid a visit to their manufacturing facility in Munich.

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The Trabecula Bench - Photo 1 of 2 -

The EOS GmbH rapid-manufacturing facility in Munich employs laser sintering machines to produce the Trabecula bench. Sintering is the process in which laser energy is used to fuse together individual particles of matter.

The Trabecula Bench - Photo 2 of 2 -

A finished Trabecula bench. At six feet long and two feet high, it is one of the largest rapid-manufactured pieces of furniture in the world, and yet, owing to it's materials and biometric cues, it weighs a mere fourteen pounds.