Museums used to solely exhibit handcrafted art pieces, but as technology evolves, the way we make art changes as well. Dutch designer Joris Laarman created a 3D printed puzzle chair – the so-called Makerschair Hexagon (2013) – and shared his files online so anyone would be able to print out the chair. Now his initially printed chair has been added to Dutch State Museum (Rijksmuseum) in Amsterdam. In other words: the State Museum, a museum with over 2 million visitors per year, adds a digitally fabricated chair to its collection, which they could have printed themselves. An interesting question: what’s the core of art; the product or the idea?
Manufactured art has been around for some time. Remember Andy Warhol’s pop art from the sixties, which was also about creating functional, reproducible but appealing products. Now a similar thing happens with artists like Laarman, who uses 3D printing to bring the concept of applied art to a whole new level. With his 3D printable puzzle chair it’s not just about reproducing an eye-catching product, but also about the fact that anyone could reproduce something like this. It’s open-source and the only thing you need is a 3D printer, a laptop and some brains.
The Makerschair was not just the first well-known downloadable chair, it was also the first-ever “crowd fabricated” chair. Laarman was able to create the chair thanks to crowd funding. His puzzle chair consists of 77 parts can be printed by most 3D printers. After all parts are printed, you need to assemble them in order to create the furniture piece. Unfortunately, you can’t print the chair right away, as Laarman estimated a total printing time of about 10 days.
The State Museum is not the first museum to add 3D printed art from Laarman to its collection. The Friedman Benda Museum also exhibited some of Laarman’s furniture pieces, including the MX3D-Metal printer, an orange robotic arm with which he has been creating 3D printed furniture since 2006. Laarman is not a new name for the Rijksmuseum as well, as the museum had already added his Bone Chair to its collection in 2011. The Makerschair is part of his Bits & Parts project. If you would like to print a puzzle chair yourself, then start downloading the file here.
Image credits: Joris Laarman.