Stratasys, Ltd. (Nasdaq: SSYS) announced the debut of "Gemini", a two-part chaise lounge designed by Neri Oxman, Architect, Designer and Professor of Media, Arts and Science at MIT, in collaboration with Professor W. Craig Carter, Department of Materials Science and Engineering of MIT, using Stratasys' Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer and CNC milling by Le Laboratoire.
Conveying the relationship of twins in the womb through material properties and their spatial arrangement, Gemini combines both traditional and innovative manufacturing processes and was unveiled at the "Vocal Vibrations" exhibition at La Laboratoire in Paris, France.
The two piece cocoon-like structure combines subtractive and additive manufacturing and continues Oxman's exploration of the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printing technology, which enables a variety of material properties and color combinations to be printed in a single build.
"The twin chaise spans multiple scales of the human existence extending from the warmth of the womb to the stretches of the Gemini zodiac in deep space. It recapitulates a human cosmos, our body, like the constellation, drifting in quiet space. Here the duality of nature is expressed through the combination of traditional materials and state of the art 3D printing," says Oxman. "Stratasys new multi- material color 3D printing capability has allowed me to create a rich dialog between sound and light, rigid and flexible, natural and man-made materials and high and low spatial frequencies in ways that were impossible until now".
In a design commission to explore how materials interact with the human body, the twin chaise features an enclosure which cushions the body within a colored, multi-material 3D printed cocoon, replicating the tranquillity of the womb. A solid wood shell house provides the protective exterior. Lining Gemini from the inside are 44 composite PolyJet digital materials, including color. The 3D printed 'skin' uses Stratasys' unique triple jetting technology and combines three base materials: Stratasys' rubber-like TangoPlus, rigid VeroYellow and VeroMagenta, forming varying shades of transparent and opaque yellows and oranges, in different rigidities. The materials, shapes and surfaces of the 3D printed skin enable a unique vibrational acoustic effect for a quiet calming environment.
"Gemini is fundamentally about the complex and contradictory relationship between twins, which is mirrored in the geometrical forms of the two-part chaise and the dualities that drive their formation, such as the combination of natural and synthetic materials," explains Professor Oxman. "The Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer and technology enabled us to print 44 material combinations that not only target specific pressure points on the body to form a sensorial landscape, but also act as a soundproof anechoic chamber, an architecture for quieting the mind."'
Gemini features separate, independent parts that together form an enclosure: Gemini Alpha and Gemini Beta. They are inspired by the mythical relationship between the Dioskouri twins, Castor, born of man (named Gemini Beta after the star in the Northern constellation of Gemini) and Pollux born divine (named Gemini Alpha after the second brightest star in the constellation of Gemini).
In keeping with Greek mythology, the first piece, Gemini Alpha recapitulates the form of a swan, as it is believed that Leda, the twins' mother, became pregnant with Pollux after being seduced by Zeus in the disguise of a swan. Inspired by the lingual root of the word 'swan', "sound" or "to sing," Gemini Alpha includes a sound enclosure featuring a range of Stratasys 3D printed PolyJet digital materials with varying elastic and acoustical properties. Surface features that are more curved than others are assigned more elastic properties thereby increasing sound absorption around local chambers.
"I wanted to reproduce the calming and still ambience of the fetus' prenatal experience," explains Professor Oxman. "The 3D printed sound-proof skin brings the whole concept to life, transporting the visitor once seated within the chaise to ultimate serenity."
Gemini Beta, to be unveiled at the Laboratoire Cambridge exhibition in October 2014, is designed to complete its twin, creating a full enclosure, however it can also function as an independent chaise when positioned upside down.
Commenting on Gemini as a key aspect of Vocal Vibrations, David Edwards, founder and director of Le Laboratoire, Paris, says, "We are delighted to be collaborating with Neri Oxman, whose ground-breaking creations continue to wow audiences while demonstrating the dramatic potential of 3D printing within the design world. In fact, this will be the first time that Le Laboratoire has featured a 3D printed piece and we expect the Gemini chaise will prove to be an attention-grabbing aspect of Vocal Vibrations."
"Once again Professor Neri Oxman has demonstrated her ability to push the boundaries of design and manufacturing with the help of Stratasys color multi-material 3D printing," says Arita Mattsoff, Vice President Marketing for Stratasys. "This is a truly unique, functional piece of art that combines traditional manufacturing techniques with cutting edge 3D printing technology. We are seeing more and more designers embrace 3D printing as a powerful new creative tool, enabling them to bring designs they never thought possible to life in a matter of hours."
For more information, visit: www.lelaboratoire.org/en