Al-Hamad Design & Bold Machines
By Guest Contributor Ben Millstein
Kuwaiti-born, California-raised, and Brooklyn-based artist and furniture designer Nanu Al-Hamad is a jack of all trades. From Al-Hamad Design, his Brooklyn-based studio which produces furniture and 3D printed accessories to the eight-person Arab Gulf art collective GCC of which he is a member, Al-Hamad never stops his all-out assault on the design world.
In order to investigate the material possibilities his most recent piece, the Structured PocketSquare, Al-Hamad collaborated with Bold Machines, using a Solidscape wax 3D printer to create a mold, then getting that mold cast in sterling silver (as pictured below). We talked with the artist about his early years, his design philosophy, and how 3D printing has expanded his horizons.
How’d you get your start?
After graduating with a degree in Architectural Acoustics, I worked at the architecture firm Atelier Aziz Alqatami in Kuwait. During this time, I exhibited a sculptural piece to a groupartists show at Sultan Gallery, which caught the eye of a Kuwaiti collector. He commissioned me to produce an office design, spawning a new outlet for me as an artist and designer. This led to more commissions and the beginnings of Al-Hamad Design.
Tell us a little about this piece.
The 'HANKY: Structured Pocket Square and Comb' was inspired by playing with ever-changing materials, recreating textures like fabric that were originally in some sort of constant movement as a 3D-printed object, as if solidifying fluidity itself.
The faux-perfection of the pocket square’s folds leaves an impression of perfectionism and patience, though in reality the fold is an illusion created by the 3D model. The comb element gives the pocket square a functional purpose beyond the aesthetic.
How did the material possibilities opened up by the Solidscape change the nature of the object?
Casting the pocket square really gave the piece more substance and much more weight, literally and figuratively. I am always impressed by the notion of replication and the ability to do so.
Seeing this come alive in a completely different material and process was very beautiful. The ideal users of my products are those who wear them well. Whether it be the Metropolis chair or the plastic pocket square, appreciation is always appreciated.
Has 3D printing changed the way you think about design?
The 3D printing process has changed the way I think about production, as well as the way I think about designing an object. The difference in approach I've taken to create forms that would be impossible without this technology, as well as utilizing its convenience of production, is truly striking.
You can create small objects without the need of a large quantity, which removes overhead and the worry of balancing stock. With my new 3D-printed collection 'THINGS', of which the Structured Pocket Square is just a part, the brand can reach out to a larger clientele. Al-Hamad Design can now fit in your pocket.
Another element that’s very important to 'THINGS' is that most of the designs come in different materials, like plastic or metal, opening up the same product to a range of consumers with different price constraints. It makes purchasing the objects similar to buying a plane ticket: you can fly economy or first class.
Al-Hamad Design can be found here.