OH Table

The table’s top is a thermo-formed acrylic solid surface sheet that describes a smooth yet tight curvature. This geometric move adds inertia to the table allowing it to be stiff without a substructure and adds appeal to the design. The surface is supported by 12 thin aluminium legs, clustered in four tripods, to reduce the leg’s visual presence. The positioning of the tripods was defined through a careful structural analysis using FEM to reduce the deflections and increase the stiffness. The connection of legs to the surface was resolved with a complex geometry part that interpolates the geometries and creates an effect of seamless continuity between all elements. The connecting pieces were 3D printed in high performance nylon and fitted with a threaded connector that allows the legs to be dismounted for storage and transportation. The tables gently rest on twelve rounded 3D-printed supports adjustable in height that confer great stability to the system while conferring an aesthetic of visual lightness.

Designed for SUTD Open House 2018, and exhibited at the Venice Biennale Singapore Pavilion. Assistant Professors Carlos Bañón and Felix Raspall, co-founders of AIRLAB at Singapore University of Technology of Design, have designed a display platform that combines thermoforming and 3dprinting technologies, for the 2018 SUTD Open House. The exhibition was the main showcase for the department of Architecture and Sustainable Design at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

The motivation of the design was to achieve the maximum geometric continuity and slenderness through dissimilar materials and fabrication processes. A total of sixty 1750 x 650 x 12 mm tabletops were manufactured in Corian and thermoformed at a temperature of 170C to get the shape of a smooth Bezier surface. By bending the surface, the inertia of the board is increased, reducing its deflection and allowing for an increased span between supports. By means of four 3D printed connection pieces, the loads are spread into the twelve 18mm diameter aluminum legs, that were optimally located using FEM software (Karamba for Grasshopper).

To increase resistance and reduce deformability, the 3D pieces were printed in a 1mm thick plastic shell and reinforced with transparent epoxy resin, which served as a bond for the threaded bars that allow unscrewing the legs. The geometry of the 3d printed components was parametrically designed to follow the seamless slope of the tabletop.

The tables gently rest in twelve round 3D-printed supports adjustable in height that confer great stability to the system while conferring a very high degree of visual lightness. They are currently featured in the Singapore Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2018 (May 26th – November 25th 2018).

Several challenges were present at the initial stages of the design. First, the intention of bending a solid surface using a Gauss curve in tight radius of 20mm which was beyond the recommendations of manufacturers. Several prototypes were conducted to demonstrate the bending possibilities of the material with no visible cracks. Second, the use of polymer 3D printing for structural components was an uncertain approach. Through prototyping, the right geometry, process and machine setting was established.

The final design includes threaded inserts that allow the legs to be disassembled and add strength to the part. Third, 3D printed was required because the complexity of geometry and the relatively small production volume of 60 tables. However, the short production schedule required development of 3-dimensional packing strategy to maximise the number of parts produced in a single printing session.

As a result, more than 240 nodes and 2,000 leg tips were produced over the course of a week. This strategy can be used for future projects and helps in the viability of 3D printing for mass production.

The project had strict budget and schedule constraints, which determined much of the execution decisions. 60 tables needed to be designed for less than US$400 each, over the lapse of three months. Two successful thermoforming prototypes with manufacturers allowed the commencement of production of the table tops. Independently, the design of the connector and legs was conducted in house. Over 10 prototypes were used to refine and validated the aesthetic and functional performance of connectors, which need to structurally attach to the table tops and detachable legs. For the production of the connectors, a custom nesting algorithm was produced to improve the printer’s proprietary software and accelerate the production schedule. Once the nodes were printed, the threaded connectors were installed and secured with epoxy resin. The final element was the adjustable leg tip, which was also design and printed in house.

Geometrically, the design seeks for continuity and slenderness, hiding the dissimilar materials and fabrication processes win a singular, minimalistic table. When tables are combined, the two ripples align and give the surface a sense of continuity while creating a mesh of very slender fibrous-looking supports underneath.

Design Concept :Carlos Banon and Felix Raspall
Research Team : Carlos Banon, Felix Raspall, Felix Amtsberg, Anna Hui Ping, Hu Yuxin, Sourabh Maheshwary
Location : Venice Biennale Singapoe pavillion
Materials : Corian ( Dupont ) and 3D Printed PLA and Nylon.
Awards: SG Mark 2019
Exhibitions: Venice Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2018
SG Mark Exhibition @Funan
SG Mark Awards Ceremony at Gardens by the Bay