Imagination and Iteration: How the Diamond Cube Table Came To Be

Apr 20, 2017

Hannah Chessman Bw By Hannah Chessman

Our third Designer Case Study comes to us from Allan Dalla Torre, a Los Angeles-based designer specializing in residential interiors, product design, and event lighting. For our New York pop-up, he created the “Diamond Cube” - a multi-functional side table with an interchangeable tray top and integrated lighting.

If you missed the first two case studies, they were Anna Mannarino's cocktail table and Jason Mizrahi's Loop chair. Be sure to check them out after Allan's!

The Inspiration:

Allan is inspired by geometric design and the multi-functionality of products. He feels that “geometric lines transcend all decorative styles”, allowing his pieces to resonate with all types of people, in all types of spaces. In his Diamond Cube design you can see a strong emphasis is placed on geometry, not only in the faceted sides of the table but also in the tangram-style tray on top.

The concept of multi-functionality is something that Allan considers on all of his projects, no matter the size. A versatile piece of furniture can offer more value to its end user than one that has only one, distinct purpose.

“I believe in getting the most function from my furniture; anytime that a product can be used in multiple ways is a plus,” Allan explains.

With geometry and versatility guiding Allan’s design process, he is able to create beautiful products and spaces that feel personal and unique. His first foray into the 3D printing world is no exception.

An Iterative Process:

Allan is embracing the idea of an iterative design process as he explores this new medium.

So far, he has revised his table design three times. The first design he sent through (left image below) was actually quite different than the version we printed at our pop-up shop.

He printed the first concept on his own desktop printer prior to sending the file to us for full-scale printing. After reviewing the miniature test model, he decided to make some modifications to create something that was a bit more flexible and functional.

A key feature of the revised design is the translucent tray tabletop that is both removable and reversible. Allan explains that “Side A offers a flat surface for [a] cocktail or two", while "Side B offers compartments for storage or organization.”

After printing Allan’s second iteration (right image above), we realized that the table was not very sturdy, as the two sides did not receive enough support from the table base alone. Allan quickly revised his design to improve the structural stability, adding a connection between both sides, while still allowing for the tray to be removable and double-sided. His original prototype and the two versions of his revised STL file used for 3D printing can be seen below.

The Details:

This piece was considerably more complex than our first two case studies.

The side table was printed in our NYC pop up in 6 days on the BigRep ONE printer with a 1 mm nozzle on the extruder. Some inconsistencies occurred during printing because the extruders were sped up to decrease print time and were not putting out enough material as they built the layers up. These settings are easily fixable for future prints.

We also printed the design with our printing partners in Sweden at BLB, and they managed to print the piece in just 30 hours.

In both instances the table was printed in two separate pieces to allow for the tray top to be reversible and, in the future, interchangeable with other printed trays. This level of customization allows for even more uses for the tray top than Allan originally envisioned.

The bottom of the table has a recessed circle that fits a remote control LED light, which will illuminate the tray above it. At the pop-up we printed the base in white and the top of the table in a translucent plastic to allow light to pass through the top better. To achieve the desired level of translucency, different filaments would need to be explored for future prints.

The Outcome:

Before this experience Allan had not worked with 3D printers before. He echoes a sentiment that we’ve shared a few times on the blog already - a 3D printer is just another tool - when he says: “The process was no more challenging than working with traditional materials like wood and fabric.”

Although this was his first 3D printed design, it will certainly not be his last. Allan says he is looking forward to working with materials like glass and metal next.

Overall, Allan was very pleased with his 3D printed side table and seeing his ideas come to life. I asked Allan what “Ideas on Demand”, Print The Future's driving statement, meant to him and he responded:

"'Ideas on Demand' means that my imagination has no limit and that concept to completion time almost runs at the speed of light; I love it!"

This case study provided a multitude of learning opportunities for designer and manufacturer alike; it's complex nature was a welcome challenge, and the successful results are a product of frequent collaboration and a commitment to the iterative process.

We look forward to seeing what Allan comes up with next!

Allan Dalla Torre is an American Artist that creates modern, multi-functional spaces. He offers expert design advice, estate staging, and original home décor through his boutique design studio Hinge Decor.

His talents span from residential interior design to architainment lighting for special events. His portfolio includes home décor for the historic Beverly Hills Greystone Mansion and stage lighting at the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollywood Hollyhock House.

His commitment to the design community has propelled him to serve in leadership positions for professional organizations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, West Hollywood Design District and as Director of Communications for the American Society of Interior Designers in Los Angeles.