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Interview, Technology

3D Printing a lighting object – how does the future look like? Interview with Marco de Visser

December 14, 2016
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Mmarco-de-visserarco de Visser is the head of sales at Luxexcel, inventor of 3D printed optics, and Editor-in-Chief for 3DPrinting.Lighting and Inspiration.Lighting. He is actively involved with the global lighting, optics and maker movements.

Most people think about light in terms of a simple light bulb and very few realize the importance of the design of their lamps. Will the easy mechanism of 3D printing and easy access to a customized object change that perception?

On the contrary to conventional fabrication technologies, usually having a high entrance barrier, 3D printing is a technology that gets accessible for any designer, both professionals and ‘do-it-selvers’. People can now tailor their lighting to a specific solution, and what’s more exciting than grow your own fixture? I strongly believe that the function and design of light could go hand in hand, rather than we should be shaping a technically functional and decorative lighting world. 3D printing will certainly contribute to close that gap.


Do you think that this change in the industry can motivate people to be more hands on when it comes to the light in their home / office? Maybe even be involved in the designing process or design a lamp from scratch…

Light is emotion. From that perspective, it adds value to a room and to personal well-being and productivity, both in home and office environments. When light is considered as a ‘build-material’ rather than focal glow – what I think is the real future of lighting – people might consider light from a different perspective. As such, it contributes to the overall ambience rather than being the ‘finishing touch’ of a live of work space. However, in the end it will be the ‘passion for furnishing’ that make people start ‘designing’ with – their self-fabricated – lighting solutions. It should really come from the inside out. For that reason, it will be limited to just a few, rather than the majority. For the same reason, I don’t think that everybody will have a 3D printer at home, it’s a matter of interest with the real work preserved for students and profs.

Name three of the most important projects that used 3D printing that you think changed the history of lighting in terms of design of the product.3dprinting-lighting_fall-of-the-damned-chandelier_original-art_comparison_the_light_design

My personal favourite is without compromise the magic “Fall of the Damned Chandelier” designed by Dutch architect Luc Merx, back in 2007. Although it is a couple of years old now, it is still an intriguing light work. A very impressive masterpiece of virtuosity, similar to 18th century ivory furniture, straight from a computer. It appears as a hovering mass of writhing nudes – opulent and bombastic – The_Light_Design_3dprinting-lighting_lily_light_janne_kyttanen_dezeen_duoand recalls the classical motif of the fall of the damned, challenging viewers with age-old questions of guilt and morality. It would be impossible to produce using other manufacturing methods than 3D printing.

Lily by Janne Kyttanen is an ode to 3D printed lighting. The flower-shaped ‘Lily’ lamp back designed in 2002, is a pure demonstration of how 3D printing could be used to create desirable lighting objects for the home. When the light inside is turned on, the petals start to glow and reveal the tiny layers of plastic the lamp is composed of. As an early adopter, Kyttanen really paved the way for things to come in 3D printing lighting.

Finally, I could mention a lot of other designers that set the pace for creating beautiful light works. The list is endless. Let me finish by mentioning the Sidon Chandelier by Robert Debbane Studio, based in Brooklyn, NY. The inspiration for his work come from the Islamic tile patterns as found in his ancestral home in Lebanon.The_Light_Design_3dprinting-lighting_sidon-chandelier_robert-debbane-studio_header-640x448

If I may end by capturing my personal interest, I think it’s mostly centered around masterpieces that express a story, history, culture or forms as found in nature. The design freedom and creativity when using 3D design and printing are unlimited. It helps to express things without words and contributes to living spaces.


What do you think the industry of lighting design will look like in the future, considering the major change that 3D printing brings for product designers, interior designers and the final customer?

3D printing is going mainstream and a next gen designers is growing up these days. They are taught differently, educated to stand in a digital world, either in the lighting industry itself or beyond. They look to the world from a very different perspective. More and more materials to get available to design with and, along with the enhanced designer skills and, it is even more attractive to create personalized distinctive lighting solutions.

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