Textured surfaces – 3D-printed aluminium sandcasting


Designers Moritz Schmid and Ville Kokkonen are carrying out a joint project to examine the potential of aluminium sandcasting in furniture manufacturing. The result has been aesthetic seating that is now on display at the Okro gallery in Chur.

Outdoor lounge by Ville Kokkonen
Images: Ville Kokkonen

Aluminium can be shaped using all kinds of methods, be it milling, forging or compression. As part of project "AI 13", however, the designer duo is studying the possibilities and limitations of innovative shaping – in the form of cast aluminium in 3D-printed sand moulds.
"This method gives us flexibility in the design process, and enables us to go straight from digital draft to implementation", says Moritz Schmid. "Initial prototypes can be reviewed and further developed directly in the original material."

Seating furniture by Moritz Schmid
Images: Rasmus Norlander

Sand moulds made with the 3D printer

Printed in layers, the sand moulds leave traces; the texture on the surface of the cast parts remains distinctly ringlike, akin to the structural contours seen on maps. Refinement through anodisation is the perfect solution for protecting the texturised surface while still maintaining character with a metallic gloss. Rebecca Frei from BWB"s factory in Niederwangen assisted with the project:

"It is not common for cast parts to be decoratively coated, because the colour is largely determined by the alloy used. That is why the actual colour of the added layer can be a varying shade of grey", says the factory manager, explaining the unique challenge. A specific pre-treatment, long-time experience and great finesse by the anodiser all helped achieve the high-quality finished product in matte black.

The seating made by Bern's Moritz Schmid and Finland's Ville Kokkonen is on display at the OKRO gallery until 14 May. More information on the exhibition

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