When appreciating a furniture design, it’s easy to overlook the environmental impact of the various materials said design is made of including a frame, foam, padding, pillows, covers…and not to mention an oftentimes extremely large cardboard box loaded with foam or other packing material. Oh yeah—then there is the transport, too.

Furniture is notoriously hard to get rid of from an environmental standpoint because in most cases they aren’t designed for disassembly nor are they made of environmentally-friendly materials to begin with.

Aiming to take a stab at this quiet but prevalent problem, industrial design student Lilian van Daal of the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague has created a 3D-printed soft chair that not only uses a single recyclable material, but is also inspired by the structure of plant cells that it is aiming to help save.


Titled ‘Biomimicry‘, van Daal experimented with various geometric patterns to create rigid and soft areas similar to those found on more traditionally-designed chairs…essentially enabling the hard material to soften when compressed to give a the chair a more ‘cushioned’ experience.


Because the chair is only made from one material and requires no adhesives, fasteners or covers, the design also eliminates the need for multiple factories and multiple transports. Heck—when the day comes that cities or homes will have large-scale 3D printers, the furniture could even be made locally or in-house with absolutely zero need for any third-party manufacturing or delivery.



From van Daal:

“In nature many structures are to be found that are not able to produce with normal production techniques. 3D printing however does make it possible to reproduce these complex structures. In this way a product can be created from one material in one factory, although it has the properties of various materials. Pollution caused by transport can be minimized and the product is completely recycable. The first working prototype has been made possible by 3D Systems Benelux.”

Check out more of van Daal’s work over at LillianVanDaal.com.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.