3D printing has been around for some time now, but it's not exactly synonymous with stylish, high-quality home decor. That is, until now—, a company based in California, makes lamps so cool and modern you'd never believe they were, in fact, 3D-printed. And that's because they've got upgraded technology and clever designers on their side.
"I was especially fascinated by 3D printing, because even though it was mostly used by hobbyists at the time, I saw so much potential for it as a cost-effective, sustainable way to bring high-quality designs to life," Gantri's CEO and founder Ian Yang told CQ. "So I started tinkering and researching for ways to make luxury 3D printed products, and that’s how the idea for Gantri was born."
Gantri's 3D printing technology is different from standard 3D printing for a few reasons. The first step, Yang says, was developing their own materials. "We worked with , a materials company in the Netherlands, to create two custom blends of corn-based PLA," he says, adding that the material is biodegradable and specifically designed to be used in lighting. The second step was modifying existing 3D printing hardware to "produce better prints in a way that’s hyper-efficient." And the third step, Yang explains, was adding finishing, which consists of hand-sanding each 3D print and finishing it with a soft-touch matte paint (which is, fun fact, typically used on yachts) that adds warmth and protects from scratches and UV damage.
"We wanted to control the precise feel of our parts for our high-end customers," Yang says. "We’re comparing ourselves to traditional luxury goods after all!"
But these lamps are more than just beautiful proof of what 3D-printing technology can do—each one is a labor of love by different designers, and Gantri is all about putting the spotlight on them and telling the story behind their creations alongside their products. Gantri's Konus lamp, for example, has a particularly incredible backstory. Designer Raphael Pangilinan originally created the lamp (which playfully looks like a badminton shuttlecock) two decades ago when he was a teenager growing up in the Philippines, but he wasn't able to produce his design on a larger scale before.
"I didn’t have a lot of money, so I improvised using driftwood or pieces of metal," Pangilinan explains on Gantri's website. "I first made Konus using bamboo, eventually moving on to hand-woven abacá fiber. I never manufactured it on a large scale because it would have taken forever." Gantri's printing technology changed all of that, helping Pangilinan share his whimsical design with the world.
"We believe that designs are more than objects—they represent the personal stories, inspirations and lives of the designer," Yang says. "We feature each designer because it provides context for how they arrived at their design and creates a human connection between the consumer and the designer—something that is sorely missing from the design world today."
Gantri's technology also streamlines the product development process from the traditional 18 to 24 month timeline to just 14 weeks, meaning designs come alive and are ready to be sold much faster. And, their , which launched in September 2018, makes shopping easier, too. AR (augmented reality) view allows customers with an iPhone running iOS 12 to use their phone's camera to see how the product will look in their space, just while browsing Gantri's website on Safari—no additional app needed.
You can read more in-depth about Gantri's 3D printing process on the , and shop some top picks from the brand below (all of which are under $200!). And whether you're a customer or a designer, stay tuned—Gantri plans to launch new lighting categories to browse and a new-and-improved to help more creators bring their designs to life in 2019.
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