It’s no secret that the modern-day upholstered couch or chair is a nightmare of processing, materials and almost impossible to recycle. Dutch designer Lilian van Daal is looking at ways to reinvent modern furniture using 3D printing technology. To that end, she’s created an incredible 3D-printed chair inspired by nature.

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“Soft seating usually consists of several different materials [and] it’s all glued together, which is a problem for the recyclability of a product,” she told “You need five or six different factories [to produce conventional upholstered furniture]. But with 3D printing you can produce very locally and you don’t have material waste in the production process; you only use the material you need.”

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In nature, there are many structures that cannot be created with our modern production techniques, she explains. But with 3D printing, natural processes can be recreated. In addition, because a product can be created in one place using one 3D printer, the need to transport materials to and from a location (or finished products to different places) is no longer necessary.

Her design, “Biomimicry: 3D Printed Soft Seat,” uses cell-like structures to create softness or stiffness, depending on the need. Although van Daal uses nylon to create the final product, something that will hopefully be changed in the future. She says that “it’s about emulating nature’s processes in digital fabrication to produce more sustainable furnishings.”

Via Treehugger

Images via Lilian van Daal