Dirk Vander Kooij: Designer of processes

Dirk Vander Kooij is a new-age craftsman who uses 3D printing technology to produce one-off pieces of furniture. Here he tells us a little about his processes.

Dutch designer Dirk Vander Kooij uses a large-scale 3D printer to produce chairs and other furniture from recycled synthetics – a method that enables him to keep his design process fluid without producing the cookie-cut products typical of other methods of manufacturing.

Every time a chair is printed, Vander Kooij can make small adjustments to the design without having to invest in new moulds. His 3D printed furniture is characterised by strong, thick lines and bright coloured plastics.

3D printing is going to change the world of prototyping.

“I am just really fascinated by the lines – the thick lines [in which] you can see the flowing of how it’s been made; you can follow the process," says Vander Kooij, in an exclusive video interview with us. "It's not about creat[ing] everything with the same technique – you have this vision that you can 3D print the whole world. It’s more about just the tactility of the material, and the aesthetics of the thick lines.”

While the 3D printer produces predefined, accurate designs, the studio also produces a range of tables and chairs made of flawed experimental prototypes that are melted down and transformed into new, solid pieces that are pressed into shapes. 

“The melting pot table, which I am rather proud of, is a very simple process. The idea was to create pieces that are almost indestructible out of the waste you throw away.”

Vander Kooij also talks about the Fresnel lamp, a suspended transparent lamp made from recycled synthetics, inspired by the Fresnel lens. This champagne coloured LED light is something like a dentist's lamp: emitting plenty of light without being difficult to look into.

Vander Kooij studied at Design Academy Eindhoven and recently moved his design studio to the edge of Amsterdam.

I really don’t have a plan that I use for the future to develop new things, he says. I just do stuff, test things, be in the workshop and discover something which I get fascinated by.

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