Dutch Designer Dirk Vander Kooij repurposed an industrial robot to produce new designs from recycled e-waste. Unveiled during Milan Design Week, his “Satellite” floor lamp is a beautiful object made from ground-up recycled CD cases, which are extruded by the robot’s arm in a continuous thread, layer by layer. Rigorously made with recycled plastics, Vander Kooij’s designs explore the possibilities offered by low-resolution 3D printing.

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“Satellite”, launched at The Future in the Makingexhibition organised by Domus, is a bulky floor lamp that glows with different intensities. The energy-saving light source and the electric gear are embedded in the transparent and thick material, which diffuses the light in all directions.

Vander Kooij’s robot is a serious departure from traditional plastic furniture making, i.e. the injection molding process. By creating a machine that prints furniture, Vander Kooij can produce plastic furniture without requiring expensive molds. He can also amend a model in the computer any time after a piece of furniture is produced and try design variations without incurring high additional costs. The robot is also more competitive than normal 3D printing, since it is a low resolution 3D printer and can work 40 times faster than traditional 3D printing. This means that a chair, for instance, can be produced in 3 hours rather than in 7 days.

This DIY technology shifts the weight of furniture manufacturing from the major design companies to the designers themselves. And this is without doubt revolutionary.  This young award-winning designer may have set a seed that is likely to become a trend in the future.

Photos by Delfino Sisto Legnani for Dirk Vander Kooij and Patricia Sendin for Inhabitat