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1st June 2015, 3:14pm
Student designers’ maths-inspired 3D printed furniture wins international prize
White Matter's Coral Chair A contemporary collection of 3D printed furniture inspired by mathematical patterns could make its way into living rooms around the world, after its student designers were announced winners of an international competition.  

White Matter, a collaboration between four undergraduate Product Design students at the University of Lincoln, UK, won the inaugural Designing the Future competition, hosted by leading US-based design hub Cubify.

The contest threw out traditional design conventions and instead invited entrants to create inspiring home décor and furniture designs for production using the latest 3D printing techniques.

The concept behind White Matter’s award-winning collection was to exploit the possibilities of 3D printing by using mathematical models previously the preserve of computer programmers and mathematicians. The designs illustrate the randomised combinations of particles found in many natural systems that result in the formation of branch-like structures, known as fractals. These spectacular ‘synthetic morphologies’ provide the common theme across White Matter’s light, table and chair collection.

Comprising the Neuro Pendant Light, Ryse Coffee Table and Coral Chair, the collection could now go on sale via the Cubify website. The winning team have also received a state-of-the-art 3D printer as part of the competition prize.

Final-year University of Lincoln students Josh Thorpe, Byron Colman, Matt Oakley and Jon Hutchinson formed White Matter in 2014, and the company now produces bespoke luxury furniture and lighting products that take inspiration from natural forms and fractal patterns.

Jon Hutchinson said: “When we founded White Matter, our mission was to further the technical possibilities of 3D printing, and its potential applications in creating commercially viable products. It is fantastic that this ethos has been recognised by Cubify, and we are excited about what the future holds for our brand as we push the limits of what can be 3D printed.”

White Matter worked with the Lincoln Technology Hub, based in the University of Lincoln’s School of Architecture and Design, to create their collection as part of their Major Projects module.

Stewart Bibby, Programme Leader for Product Design at the University of Lincoln, said: “This is excellent news for both the students involved and the BA Product Design programme. It is a reflection of the students’ ability to interpret a brief while exploring the intricacies and technological innovations possible with the emergence of 3D print capabilities. The work they are producing shows that they are an extremely viable team of emerging designers.”

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