First Impressions from The New York Pop-Up Shop

Mar 20, 2017

Hannah Chessman Bw By Hannah Chessman

Hi! I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Hannah, and I joined the Print The Future team last Wednesday, March 15th. I’m jumping in head first - two weeks into the month-long NYC pop-up shop - eager to immerse myself in the world of 3D printing and to share that world with the New York design community.

For a primer on Print The Future and our mission, check out this great article from Fast Company that goes in-depth on the NYC pop-up shop and reveals what’s in store for Print The Future on a larger scale.

I come from an interior design background: I spent the majority of the last four years designing office spaces for companies who were trying to make the move from a traditional office layout to a more modern, flexible, and open one. Our designs fostered collaboration and innovation through shared breakout spaces, diverse work settings, and fun, vibrant design concepts. We encouraged clients to look ahead toward the future of the workplace, to engage their employees in the process, and to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

At PTF we are also encouraging designers to look toward the future - to imagine what becomes possible when you can design anything and have it printed within 24 hours. 3D printing offers the ability to take back ownership over your designs and your vision, and I think that’s pretty amazing. And very powerful.

Although disrupting the home furnishings industry is step one, Print The Future is not designing exclusively for the residential market. Bringing inspiration from home into the office has become an increasingly popular trend in interior design over the past five years. Even long-standing companies like Herman Miller and Knoll started first as residential, expanding into the world of commercial interiors as designers sought to add personal touches and warmth to the workplace.

Imagine a start-up company with a short-term lease. They have five people now, but if all goes well, they’ll have double, or triple, by next year. What if they could leverage 3D printing technology to reduce costs, waste, and headache? When they outgrow their current furniture, they could either print more right away, using existing design files, or recycle what they have now and print something new, contributing to a sustainable, zero-waste system from a materials perspective. This concept could really be a game changer for the entire interior design industry!

When you step inside the pop-up shop, the excitement is palpable. All day we’re engaged in conversations with visitors and with each other, where we are swept away by the possibilities. We enthusiastically discuss the long-term goals of Print The Future, the potential power of 3D printing, the opportunities for placing a direct emphasis on sustainability.

As you move through the space, you see examples of 3D printed furniture everywhere - some printed with PLA, some with ABS. Not sure what those are? Ask anyone and they’ll not only tell you the basics but also explain the advantages of each and share some photos of the coolest things they’ve seen printed recently. Within days I learned more about 3D printing than I did throughout the rest of my design education and career. The 3D printing community is tight-knit but extremely passionate and excited about the future; they can clearly see the almost limitless possibilities of this emerging technology, and we know that soon others will too.

After only a few days in the pop-up shop, the soft whir of the gigantic 3D printer feels like white noise, and I think I could get used to that sound. It’s quiet. It’s constant. It’s easy to forget that it’s even there. Then you turn around, and it’s printed a complex 3D form with no joints that can hold 300 pounds, and you can barely wait to print something else, to try something new.

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what is possible, and that is what has everyone, including me, so excited.

Be sure to follow our blog for more behind-the-scenes updates from the NYC pop-up shop, which ends on March 31st. You can also check out a Livestream from our partners in Sweden at BLB Industries to see custom furniture designs being printed on their powerful, life-sized 3D printer, The Box. After the pop-up ends stick around to get a first look at some of the inspiring 3D print specialists, designers and makers we are engaging with and to become an important part of the Print The Future community.