Growing numbers of manufacturers and designers are switching to 3D printing for furniture and interior construction. The Digital 3D Surfaces event area at interzum focused on the latest developments in the field of surfaces. Key themes were creativity, faster response times and greater flexibility in home living and interior decor.

Today’s digital printers print “surfaces” that are not only tactile, three-dimensional and, where desired, very durable, but also in large formats, at cost-effective print speeds and to the highest quality. For furniture and interior design, this opens up new potential for creativity and flexibility. interzum 2017 presented current developments in this field at the special Digital 3D Surfaces event area. The exhibition was curated by the renowned designer and trends researcher Rolf Warda.

Leading manufacturers presented examples of digital industrial manufacturing using wood, ceramics, glass, textiles, metals and other materials. Experts offered insights into technologies, software and services. They covered the complete process chain from theory into practice, from laboratory sample to industrial scale. The exhibition explored the choice of printers and inks as well as how complete solutions can be developed from a single source. It offered inspiring examples of cutting-edge 3D printing technology for architects, product designers and decision makers in furniture and interior construction.

A print of a fossil was presented, complete with digitally printed frame. The print motif was split into twenty layers, each of which was printed twice. The first nineteen layers are only black and white and the twentieth layer is the colour layer. The finished product was a tactile surface with a three dimensional appearance. The image took seven hours to produce on an aluminium composite panel of 700mm by 500mm. Another exhibit demonstrated how 3D silicone print technology makes it possible to individually design acoustic panels where the 3D design becomes a wall decoration or work of art in addition to its sound deadening properties.

Designer and trend watcher Rolf Warda said “Right now, we are witnessing digital decor printing becoming more common, in the form of both printing directly onto the substrate material and the more traditional digital printing onto decorative paper. The Digital 3D Surfaces special event area presented examples of the next steps in industrial development. Tactile effects can be obtained with the latest digital printing systems and on virtually every type of material, meaning that for a leather surface, for example, not only can the look of leather grain be created, but so too can the actual feel of leather.”