Robert Debbane Studio is based in Brooklyn, New York. Founded by artist and designer Robert Debbane, the studio has a collection of lighting designs fabricated on 3D printers. They are committed to creating exceptional designs by thinking beyond the limitations typically associated with 3D printing so far.
As an artist, Debbane has worked in a variety of media including painting, photography, and installation. He has also been interested in the interaction between traditional art-making and digital processes. He began experimenting with 3D printers in 2011 as a tool to use in his art studio, which eventually led to the lighting designs the studio is currently producing.
Taking inspiration from Islamic tile patterns, forms found in nature, and images of outer-space, subjects Debbane has investigated through his artwork, the designs have a sculptural quality when unlit reminiscent of ancient relief sculptures. When turned on, the geometric patterns are revealed in a surprising and dramatic way.
Interview with Robert Debbane
Can you describe your journey as an designer?
I've been working on a series of 3D printed lighting designs since 2011. I started experimenting with a Makerbot Cupcake printer which had a very small print bed. This limitation led me to experiment with interlocking designs that would allow me to make bigger pieces. From there, I've been experimenting with a variety of printer types (FDM and SLS printers), and designing to take advantage of what each technology has to offer.
What inspired you to get your start and what has the journey been like?
As an artist, I was interested in approaching a 3D printer as another tool in the studio I could use to explore my interests. I had been working with light as both a subject and a medium throughout my art-making for a while, and so it seemed natural for me to make a light sculpture when I acquired my first 3D printer. I never intended to make light fixtures, but realized quite quickly that the objects I was making could be compelling table lamps and pendant lights.
an you walk us through the process you went through to create this model and then actually print it and assemble? What is the background story of this project?
The initial step was to refine the visual pattern I wanted to use. This involved making some sketches by hand and then translating them in Solidworks. From there, I experimented with variations on the design until I was happy with the way the light passed through a part. Once I had the look and feel I was looking for, I refined the hinges. This takes a lot of minor changes until the tolerances are just right. For this large Galactica chandelier, this was critical, as the design weighs much more than any other hinged piece I've made in the past. I ordered several rounds of test parts from Stratasys Direct until the parts had the correct tolerances and I found the right combination of material and part thickness.
What was the impact of using th services of Stratasys Direct for your PC parts?
Stratasys Direct allowed me to create something much bigger than I've ever made before, and to make a design out of Polycarbonate, which is a material that I've never had access to. PC has material properties that are very good for a lighting design. I was excited to be able to work with it and hope to have an opportunity to make other designs using PC.
hat advice do you have for people who are interested in transforming their deas into designs?
Learning a new process of making things takes a lot of trial and error, especially at first. Start small and be prepared for many versions of something before you get to a design you are happy with. 3D printing is an exciting tool, and so much more can be done with it that people haven’t imagined yet.