There’s been a lot of noise around 3D printing for the past five years. Ever since the machines became relatively accessible, coders have been churning out plastic toys and journalists hailing the third industrial revolution. The problem has remained, however, that few of the objects produced were actually desirable. Design startup Othr hopes to change this and since launching in May has begun paving the way to an emerging era of chic 3D-printed homewares.
Founded by three designers, Joe Doucet, Dean Di Simone and Evan Clabots, Othr is pushing what’s possible technologically, creating things like cutlery, crockery, kitchen details and small storage items in bronze, steel and porcelain. Each item – from a $50 bronze letter opener(second picture) by Saatchi Design to a $635 set of porcelain vessels – is created in collaboration with a leading designer, resulting in a range of highly aesthetic, limited-edition future classics. There’s the droplet-shaped porcelain planter ($100, third picture) by Evan Clabots, for example, or the minimal Time in Serving plate and knife set ($245, first picture) by London’s Michael Sodeau, in matte black porcelain and plated in 18ct gold – or the sculpture-cum-bottle opener ($120, fourth picture) by Brooklyn-based design duo Fort Standard in black steel. Every object is printed with a designer signature and unique edition number (fifth picture).
“Printing in steel has only been around a few years and our manufacturer developed porcelain printing just six months ago,” says Doucet, adding that Othr is committed to creating beautiful products, rather than geeking out about the capacities of technology. “We work with very smart guest designers to take advantage of what 3D printing can do.” Every fortnight it launches a new product, speeding up to a weekly launch schedule from January, which will give forward-thinking types the chance to invest in early pieces of a post-pollution production system.
After all, 3D-printed objects can be made to order, one by one, liberating Othr from mass production’s inherently wasteful model; the on-demand nature of 3D-printing means it can be made outside of a polluting factory setup, with no surplus stock sitting in a warehouse. Othr’s products are made in the US, and by the end of the year will also be made in Europe, with shipments to be made from the factory closest to the client. “Every object has a home before it’s made,” says Doucet, “and is shipped to people in the most environmentally friendly way we can possibly find. Our customers are helping to change the way things are made and having a positive impact on the planet long-term.”