We’ve noticed that product designers in particular thrive on a few things: artistic freedom, an efficient means of moving from concept to object, and finished products of the best quality. 3D printing has given Stockholm-based designer and product developer Gustav Rosén all three — along with the flexibility to branch out and find new ways to express his love of his craft. But his process begins, of course, with inspiration.
“I am a fan of Eileen Gray. She was a pioneer of the Modernism movement in architecture and also designed a lot of beautiful objects. Danish furniture brand Woud recently launched a hook that I designed and named after her as an homage. And I actually first 3D printed the hook at Shapeways,” Rosén told us.
Though he’s best known as a furniture and lighting designer for brands like Woud, Maze, and K-FAB, 3D printing has allowed Rosén to have a second life as a jewelry designer. His eponymous line, available exclusively at Shapeways, was born from past explorations. He had a “library of shapes left over” from furniture designs, until, “I realized that I could try to make jewelry of them, with the help of Shapeways.” Shapeways might have been the way to get there, but he told us, “the reason I recently started making jewelry is actually the freedom it gives. Because the sole purpose of a piece of jewelry is that it must be beautiful and inspiring.”
While his work as a furniture designer was inspired by Eileen Gray, he’s approached jewelry design a little differently. When it comes to this new creative expression, “I would probably say that I was influenced by everything, except maybe other jewelry,” he remembers. After printing some of his beautiful, minimalist rings and pendants as gifts for his wife (stylist and photographer Ida Rosén), her reaction to the designs convinced Rosén to open a shop.
Beyond his fully 3D printed jewelry, Rosén’s lighting and furniture is generally produced using traditional manufacturing. But 3D printing is a vital part of the design process. “It’s a great tool both for showing the essence, shape, and overall impression of a concept, but also to test technically complex components in a cost-effective way,” he finds.
Rosén has created 3D printed models of almost every product that’s been put into production, usually on a small scale. The designer recommends choosing a single scale and sticking to it — for practical and fun reasons: “I almost always use the same scale of 1:6 for furniture items that I scale down. It’s fun to have a small set of items of the same scale next to each other, like in a dollhouse.”
Not all of his furniture designs are printed in tiny dollhouse scale, though. “Many times, I also make full-scale prototypes, because at Shapeways you can print really big geometries,” Rosén said. These strong 3D printed prototypes help him get to a final product much faster than traditionally made versions: “I’ve used 3D prints to quickly and at low cost test features and geometries of different versions of components. Once the component has been verified via the 3D model, you can safely order using conventional methods.”
“3D printing has been a powerful tool on many levels in my works as a designer and engineer. A printed model is a great way to see if an idea is as beautiful and functional in reality. And of course, it is a great way to convey the vision of a product to clients,” he added. You can see the results of this process in his Pythagorus Bracket System, designed for Maze Interior:
We always want to understand why designers use Shapeways 3D printing vs. other companies or methods. For Rosén, it’s all about quality prints — and materials: “I have tested other 3D printing companies and also printed in my studio. But for me quality is crucial. I know the results will be good because Shapeways specializes in this area and always delivers good products. In addition, it saves a lot of time to hand over the printing process, rather than doing it at home. And at Shapeways a lot of different materials are available.”
We’re always finding new ways in which 3D printing can support the design process. What will it help you create?