The collaboration between SOSITALIA and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano, which began in October 2017, was made official in February 2018 with the signing of a collaboration agreement. It aims to investigate how new technological opportunities benefit shape possibilities, and the new digital aesthetic can enrich the Sanitary Fittings Industry. The project involves Designer Dott. Giorgia Galimberti and Engineer Ali Gökhan Demir of the Politecnico di Milano.
Giorgia Galimberti holds a Master’s Degree in Design & Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano in 2013 with a dissertation thesis, from the designer’s point of view, between 3D printing technologies. In February 2018, she completed her Ph.D. in Design at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, where she performed her research, development of industrial solutions and specified training. The course of study has allowed her to develop multidisciplinary knowledge between engineering and design. The PhD theme focuses on 3D printing in terms of design and aesthetics of metal products. This has allowed her to develop knowledge on advanced design techniques through additive technologies for metal products obtained for powder printing (Selective Laser Melting – SLM) but also in plastic material. To date Giorgia deals with designing and consulting for 3D printing.
Giorgia has pursued her profession at SITEC (Laboratory for Laser Applications) and AddMe.Lab (Additive Manufacturing Laboratory) which principally deals with lasers from the process point of view and its possible applications. In these areas, particular attention and interest are directed towards the world of design where these technologies are versatile and appropriate for multiple projects. The collaboration with Eng. Demir granted opportune choices and analyses of additive production processes, surface finishing as well as parameters that conform to product development. The technological support combined with the design for additive recognized structure experimentation for the construction of components of new aesthetic value. The synergy between the world of engineering and design has allowed the realization of complex aesthetic forms without compromising their production ability.
The collaboration with SOSITALIA stems from the research and development of new structural and technological solutions so the sanitary fittings industry can approach the additive printing of metal components. The new metal 3D printing technology, combined with the new structural possibilities and a new use of 316L stainless steel, sees the faucet industry conducive to experimentation in all three directions.
In its development, the project involved various professional figures under the designer’s supervision from the concept up to its materialization.
The metal 3D printing consents the production of complex shapes and for this reason the study started with the research and development of a demonstrator designed to investigate its technical-functional possibilities, aesthetic-formal variations and obtainable finishes. The demonstrator was designed with the aim of evaluating and testing the effectiveness of various surface finishing processes in order to obtain a smooth and shiny surface, typical of the aesthetics of sanitary faucets. The “features” inserted in the demonstrator are tubes with internal channels, a lattice with three different densities and inclined surfaces to divide the piece in three areas in order to understand where each individual post-process can modify the internal surface. For the final production of the piece, the selected features were devised with technical-design measures to ensure their production capability. The sample was made by additive production, SLM, in AISI 316L and various finishing processes were identified and examined such as sandblasting, vibratory barreling, tumbling and electrolytic polishing plasma. The result, by varying parameters and timing, issued nine types of finishes, grouped by similarity of brightness and roughness. Following this, a qualitative (aesthetic perceptive) analysis was made to compare the demonstrators and identify the best combination of geometrical characteristics and finishing processes.
The knowledge acquired during the first phase of research were enforced for the creation and definition of concepts that foresees the development of alternative and unique solutions for kitchens and bathrooms compared to traditional models. The intent of such proposals is to interpret the new digital aesthetics while maintaining the product’s functionality. The structure experimentation in the prospective concepts ranges from undulating geometries to bodies with sharp and concealed lines to create geometric designs with bold, full and empty harmonies, combining light and organic structures with massive but dynamic bodies that create optical implications.
The research of the shape is inspired by the works of artists, the observation of structures of the natural world and images of the nascent digital aesthetic. All of this was then integrated and adapted in the perspective of the proposed work.
MONDRIAN 1 – 2
The rationality of the artist who creates clean and linear images through lines, colors, primitive geometries and full and empty spaces, has suggested the transposition from two- dimensional to the volumetric three-dimensionality of the object. Mondrian uses color to define shapes and spaces by composing them in visual balance. In this work, equilibrium is created with the alternation of full and empty spaces, simple and linear geometries arranged on different levels and interconnected by rods and chambers through which water flows. The deriving concept appears rational and immaculate with two solutions: one more fragmented in elements of detail, light and of greater visual complexity, the other more rigorous and essential.
ORGANIC – MR. HYDE
The indications derived from the observation of the complex forms of the natural world. Additive technologies, which offer multiple reticular models, interpret the variety and complexity of these forms, becoming an icon of the digital aesthetic. The lightness and complexity of the lattice structure is completed by a solid frame encasing and supporting it. The concept converges these elements together in a harmony of opposites to meet the need for a functional order.
In Organic, the frame created by the channels defines the space in which the lattice is developed, enhancing its complexity and lightness. The curved lines of the body as a whole emphasize its visual softness. In Mr. Hyde, the play of contrast between rigid and soft, full and empty was honorable. By changing the point of view of the object, you can appreciate the traditional detectable appearance, displaying only the frame, and also see the innovative side through the obvious lattice.
The concept of this faucet is inspired by the works of artist Escher in which the gradual transformation of the subjects and optical illusion of a path leading to infinity are the main characters. The proposed concept provides a product consisting entirely of channels that define the overall volume and functionality. The ladder structure is formed by steps that seen from the front give an idea of a full geometry, made light by its central void and spacing between one step to the next. This spacing punctuates the space rhythmically in an increasingly closer sequence but projected linearly towards an indefinite point. The concept is realized in a three-dimensional ascent that concludes in an almost two-dimensional image.
The concept is inspired by the Tangram dissection puzzle characterized by basic geometric shapes. It is a linear and solid structure in the various shapes that acquires lightness and dynamism once assembled. The composition seems random but is organized to achieve a dynamic balance, which gives the idea a playful and lively, visually fragile but solid reality.
These concepts were applied to different shape solutions for the kitchen single lever, shower head and the 3 hole bathroom faucet.
The Mondrian model is a fusion of the initial proposals. It increases the number of channels through which the water flows, has a linear and square shape; the base has been lightened favoring a balance of full and empty spaces in the overall perception. The appearance appears functional and immaculate.
The Tangram was experimented in the shower head, where the basic geometry play has led to the creation of an articulated path of water conductivity.
The Organic concept was applied to different configurations: the 3-hole bathroom faucet acquires a more technical shape, aligned with the design and orientation rules of its 45° structure, with the option of being without its supports or have a more delicate version that better expresses the elegance of the shapes. The solutions applied to the shower heads provide different levels of shape complexity: from the distinction of functional channels and aesthetic lattice, to the fusion of an aesthetic-functional lattice with an aesthetic lattice up to only the aesthetic-functional lattice.
From the shape proposals that emerged from these concepts, the Organic model was created; a 3-hole basin tap for bathroom. Organic is a synthesis that summarizes the functionality of traditional taps and the aesthetics of the explored research. It is characterized by a sinuous line emphasized by the central lattice. It presents soft and continuous forms in contraposition to the water flow channels, angular and squared, which give the product solidity and stability. The overall perception, in which the exterior and interior parts merge, give the piece an idea of lightness, the asymmetry of the water channels gives it a playful, yet elegant character. Organic, combines in itself references to the world of nature expressed with the complexity and aesthetics of the technology applied.
The massive global shape of the handle is lightened by the presence of the intertwining lattice, which is placed or asserted in negative spacing, coordinating the style between body and handle. The massive connotation of the handles, which contrasts with the lightness of the central body, gives visual completeness to the product.
The finishing process chosen for this product is PVD / DLC (Physical Vapour Deposition / Diamond Like Carbon), which allows to achieve surfaces with a pronounced beauty without removing or modifying the features of functionality and resistance to which the concept refers. The surface achieved has excellent qualities such as high surface hardness, non- toxicity and biocompatibility as well as excellent resistance to chemical agents and wear through time.
PVD coating facilitates the cleaning of the surfaces, which remain unchanged over time which is particularly relevant. The choice of finish also looks at the issues of environmental impact. PVD is in fact an optimal solution in this industry.
This first endeavor granted us to investigate possible developments for the creation of customized components with performing technologies. The functionality of products is guaranteed by an accurate study of achievable shapes. The flexibility of additive technologies allows an extensive structure experimentation that requires a further study for the finishing process aimed for production.
ORGANIC WORKING GROUP