Keystones by


Istanbul Design BiennialRotterdam design studio Minale-Maeda has devised a set of 3D printed plastic connectors that combine with standard wooden parts so that anyone can make these four items of furniture.

Keystones by Minale-Maeda

Building on the Inside-Out Furniture project presented at last year's Dutch Design Week, the Keystones collection is intended to be printed at a local manufacturing centre and assembled by the user with no need for joinery skills or instruction booklets.

Keystones by Minale-Maeda

Schematic drawings are etched on the surfaces of the plastic, providing instructions on how to build the side table, dining table, coat stand and trestle.

Keystones by Minale-Maeda

Although the project was self-initiated, the designers set down strict rules about what the final product could include. "There should be a single connector with no additional fasteners and no screws," they told Dezeen.

Keystones by Minale-Maeda

"The other guideline was that it should be as compact as possible while being as strong as possible, since the material is comparatively weak," they added. The wood is clamped into the 3D printed connector in a way that relieves stress from the connectors themselves.

Keystones by Minale-Maeda

End users can either follow the drawings and use the same size pieces, or customise the data files to alter measurements and insert elements of their own design.

Keystones by Minale-Maeda

"The sizes of the connectors were chosen to fit with commonly available materials that can be glued on top of each other to achieve the thickness desired for strength," they explained. "The clamping screw provides a tolerance to catch any slack."

Keystones by Minale-Maeda

Minale-Maeda was founded in 2006 by former Design Academy Eindhoven students Kuniko Maeda and Mario Minale.

Keystones by Minale-Maeda

Keystone was presented at the Istanbul Design Biennial, which continues until 12th December. We recently featured another 3D printing project presented at the biennial which explored how digitally produced objects can be as individual as handmade ones.

Keystones by Minale-Maeda

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Here's some more information from the designers:

The work of Studio Minale-Maeda investigates the potentials of multi-directional material translations (digital to analogue to building-block construction), open-source schematics (from Gerrit Rietveld drawings to the online Lego community), and novel forms of distribution (such as downloadable design).

Keystones reduce the design of a piece of furniture to a single connector – a compact piece that can be 3D printed on-location. The keystone holds together the various components of a table or chair, which can be fabricated using basic workshop tools or a 2D CNC router, without the need for joinery skills. With Keystones, only the most essential part of the furniture needs to be shipped; the rest can be made from the materials at hand.

  • alexander

    Who is this for? What problem does it address? Is there a shortage of make-it-yourself furniture using cheap parts? People with the knowledge and interest to find a 3D printer and cut/glue parts are of one kind: designers. In which case, where is the impetus for a designer to build YOUR designs? Or are busy working people going to go to the garage and break out the 3D printer? Novelty alone is only that.

  • jens

    It is the exact same project Vandasye did in two years ago:

  • tim

    Where can we download the models?