BIRD CAGE

Ekaruna - - Interior Trends -

Cre­at­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and selling her own fur­ni­ture and home­ware de­signs are her thing. Story telling is how you would de­fine her cre­ations. Be­hind ev­ery col­lec­tion is a tale, ei­ther to re­vive so­cial aware­ness or to con­vey nos­tal­gic sen­ti­ments. Drawn to the vintage world, each de­sign con­stantly re-in­vents tra­di­tions with a fresh new con­tem­po­rary tech­nique, and the re­sult is a won­der­ful mélange of con­trasts.

Meet San­dra Mac­aron, a con­cep­tual de­signer and in­te­rior ar­chi­tect be­hind a host of venues and cre­ations. The de­signer speaks to Nayla Kurd about ‘tech­nol­ogy in de­sign’ and in­tro­duces her cap­ti­vat­ing Bird Cage line to our read­ers.

Ekaruna Cre­at­ing be­spoke 3D printed fur­ni­ture sounds very fu­tur­is­tic to us. Could you talk us through the process?

San­dra Mac­aron 3D print­ing is the process of mak­ing a three­d­i­men­sional ob­ject, in which suc­ces­sive lay­ers of ma­te­rial are laid down un­der com­puter con­trol. In the­ory, any solid ob­ject can be printed. 3D print­ing can turn com­put­erised vi­sions into re­al­ity; imag­ine any shape or form re­alised metic­u­lously and in no time, it’s sur­real. Af­ter award win­ning Pee­l­ight in 2008, neON neOFF in 2009 and Wej Mr­eye in 2012, comes Bird Cage, one of San­dra Mac­aron’s many con­tra­dic­tory and story-telling works.

“Be­tween guilt’s lev­ity and weight, the cage as a prison and a prom­ise. A de­sign be­tween Zen and dis­com­fort, that is del­i­cate, volatile and poetic. The idea be­hind the col­lec­tion is a free Bird sym­bol­iz­ing us in­di­vid­u­als, locked up in a Cage im­ply­ing the im­pris­oned world we live in. The work is a metaphor­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the op­pressed in­di­vid­u­als liv­ing in a sys­tem of bar­ri­ers, which mould peo­ple.” Ekaruna 3D print­ers are an ex­cit­ing tech­nol­ogy, but another hot new tool known as laser cut­ters may have just as sig­nif­i­cant of an im­pact in real-world projects. Could you give us more in­for­ma­tion about this tech­nol­ogy?

San­dra Mac­aron Laser cut­ters were in­vented some 50 years ago, but only be­came part of the home work­shop in the past few years. These 2D cut­ters bring an im­pres­sive flex­i­bil­ity to a wide range of ap­pli­ca­tions. For in­stance, if man­u­fac­tur­ers want to experiment with cre­ative ideas that need to be pro­duced with en­gi­neer­ing-grade plas­tics, wood, leather, and me­tal, to name a few, laser cut­ters are of­ten the only fit­ting tool. And so, sim­i­larly to the 3D print­ing tech­nol­ogy, laser cut­ting is be­com­ing so com­mon in cre­at­ing pre­cise per­fo­ra­tions, pat­terns, en­grav­ings, etch­ings and so on, and is used to a greater ex­tent in all as­pects of de­sign, specif­i­cally fur­ni­ture and in­te­rior de­sign. A good il­lus­tra­tion of the laser-cut­ting trend in fur­ni­ture would be the mashra­biya - a type of pro­ject­ing oriel win­dow en­closed with carved wood lat­tice­work, typ­i­cally found in Ara­bic ar­chi­tec­ture.

Ekaruna What’s the main dif­fer­ence be­tween the laser cut and 3D printed tech­niques (in terms of time, costs, adapt­abil­ity etc)?

San­dra Mac­aron Both tech­nolo­gies stem from com­put­erised ma­chines, but have dif­fer­ent tech­niques and vis­ual ef­fects. One is more about three-di­men­sional feel, the other about per­fo­ra­tion, en­grav­ing, etch­ing et al. They are both rel­a­tively quick to man­u­fac­ture and cost ef­fec­tive com­pared to tra­di­tional tech­niques in view of the fact that they need lower tool­ing costs. But, laser cut­ters can pro­duce much larger ob­jects than stan­dard 3D prints in a much shorter time, and usu­ally for a sig­nif­i­cantly lower cost.

Ekaruna What about com­puter-pro­grammed CNC milling? Could you help us paint a clearer im­age of the process?

San­dra Mac­aron CNC milling is a com­puter-con­trolled ma­chine that is used for cut­ting hard ma­te­rial such as wood, alu­minium, steel, plas­tic, and co­rian. It is mainly used for the pro­duc­tion of door carv­ings, in­te­rior and ex­te­rior dec­o­ra­tions, wood pan­els, sign­boards, wooden frames, mould­ings, mu­si­cal in­stru­ments and fur­ni­ture.

Ekaruna Say a piece of fur­ni­ture needs re­pair or re­place­ment parts? Is it easy and cost friendly to deal with such con­cerns when deal­ing with such tech­nolo­gies?

San­dra Mac­aron It ac­tu­ally all de­pends on the tech­nol­ogy used. If the piece is 3D printed, then the ob­ject can’t be re­paired and should be re­placed. As for the other tech­nolo­gies, they are not to­tally ma­chine made; parts are cut and moulded by tech­nol­ogy then com­bined by hand, and so re­pair­ing is pos­si­ble.

Ekaruna These tech­nolo­gies are still not very ex­ten­sively used though. Do you think that there is a fear that 3D printed, com­puter-pro­grammed and laser cut fur­ni­ture will not be as sturdy or as well made as tra­di­tion­ally pro­duced fur­ni­ture?

San­dra Mac­aron The tech­nique is not nec­es­sar­ily the main fac­tor af­fect­ing the life span or sta­bil­ity of the piece. Gen­er­ally, it de­pends on the ma­te­rial and de­sign of the ob­ject. But, the de­sign process is the most im­por­tant as­pect in en­sur­ing the best fi­nal

re­sult. The ad­van­tages of these new tech­nolo­gies though, are the abil­ity to cre­ate im­pos­si­ble fea­tures from tra­di­tional tech­niques whilst us­ing less ma­te­rial, all the while cre­at­ing light­weight prod­ucts.

Ekaruna These fu­tur­is­tic con­cepts were per­ceived in an at­tempt to give cus­tomers the free­dom to de­sign their own fur­ni­ture. How are de­sign­ers adapt­ing to the idea? Does that con­flict with de­sign­ers’ work in any way?

San­dra Mac­aron Imag­ine print­ing your own chair at the near­est sta­tion­ers. That would be cool, right? You still need to de­sign the shape and form of your piece though, so there’s no con­flict with the de­signer’s work. The de­sign process is still in­dis­pens­able, and not to for­get, you still need to buy the right to print that spe­cific de­sign.

Ekaruna New tech ad­vance­ments in fur­ni­ture de­sign are all about cre­at­ing new ways of liv­ing. Could you ex­pand on that?

San­dra Mac­aron It’s all about com­bin­ing an ev­ery­day ob­ject with another util­ity, such as merg­ing a lamp with a ta­ble. Cre­at­ing a ‘new’ ob­ject that bears more than a sin­gle use, and so cre­at­ing new ways of liv­ing. Ekaruna Do you think these tech­nolo­gies sug­gest the demise of mass-pro­duc­tion in fur­ni­ture de­sign?

San­dra Mac­aron On the con­trary, these tech­nolo­gies are proof of an in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion, the af­fir­ma­tion of mass pro­duc­tion, easy ac­ces­si­bil­ity, fast pro­duc­tion and glob­al­iza­tion. They of­fer in­cred­i­ble ad­van­tages and op­por­tu­ni­ties to the de­sign com­mu­nity.

Ekaruna Craft­ing such pre­cisely and care­fully put fur­ni­ture by hand is nearly im­pos­si­ble. Given the fact that these tech­nolo­gies com­bine craft, art, de­sign and tech­nol­ogy, do you think they’ll re­place the work of artists in any way?

San­dra Mac­aron True, but I per­son­ally still have a weak­ness for hand­made pieces and prod­ucts, and I, like many oth­ers, think they’re ir­re­place­able. Though full of im­per­fec­tions, mixed with a loss of con­trol, all the while al­low­ing the ma­te­ri­als to make some of the de­ci­sions, leav­ing things to chance and im­pro­vis­ing in the fi­nal stages of pro­duc­tion, these as­pects of the hand­made process make for the most in­ter­est­ing re­sults. The prob­lem with craft though, is that it’s ex­pen­sive, but some peo­ple still yearn for that.

Im­ages Cour­tesy of Bernard Khalil

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