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A Sustainable 3D-Printed Sand Table with Wood-Grain Pattern | Contourage

FDT Bureau

Stockholm-based Studio TOOJ recently designed Contouragean innovative bright-blue table featuring a wood-grain pattern, constructed using 3D-printed sand via a binder jetting process. This table was introduced at Milan Design Week during Studio TOOJ’s exhibition Restrained Beauty: The Unseen Layers of Scandinavian Design at Alcova’s Villa Borsani. Know more about it on FURNITURE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY (FDT).

The table was created in collaboration with German manufacturer Sandhelden using binder jetting, an additive manufacturing method. In this process, a liquid binder is selectively applied to locally sourced quartz sand to bond the particles together, layer by layer. The print head strategically applies binders to the sand powder, building the object through successive layering. The binder for Contourage is made from furan resin, derived from biomass such as corn husks, rice hulls and sugarcane. The table’s hollow structure further minimizes the material needed, making it a resource-efficient piece.

3D printing with sand emerged as a remarkable choice for Contourage, not only because it reduces material usage but also because it offers unique visual possibilities. The studio intentionally chose the printing direction to create wood-grain-like patterns, adding an organic feel to the table. Inspired by the layered sets of theatre stages, Contourage’s design is both intricate and visually appealing. The table is spray-painted in a vibrant blue hue using non-toxic paint, chosen for its calming effect and its beautiful interaction with the sand grains.

At the end of its lifecycle, the sand from Contourage can be reused, though the process involves some effort. Unlike processes that melt grain size, binder jetting simply binds the grains and seals the surface, making it possible to burn out the binder and epoxy. After this, the sand can be recycled for other applications.

Image credit: Studio TOOJ

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