Christina Perla and Manny Mota started Makelab a few years ago as a way to offer customers help with bringing their 3D printing ideas to life. They founded the Brooklyn-based company on the principles of innovation and sustainability, and have shown a seemingly unending reserve of energy when it comes to improving and expanding their business. Recently they decided to turn their attention to the creative side of 3D printing and launched Makelab Market, a marketplace for 3D printed home interior designs.
Just in time for the holidays, Perla and Mota have introduced their first collection for the new site, a series of 3D printed planters in a variety of geometric shapes. They have plenty more plans for the site as well, and recently took a moment to talk about Makelab Market’s founding and future.
What is the inspiration behind Makelab Market?
“Starting out as a 3D Printing Service, we got to really know our printers and the capabilities of the technology itself. We are now experts at 3D printing- best printing practices, how to efficiently design for all different methods of 3D printing, and how to manipulate the printing process to get the best quality. In terms of final product and finish, most of our customers wish to hide the texture of 3D Printing (the stepping). As Industrial Designers, we couldn’t help but want to utilize and showcase the textures and imperfections of 3D printing as a design element. Once we began sketching, 3D modeling, and prototyping, it was almost as if the designs poured out of us.”
What kind of products are you launching with and why?
“We love our home and office and we love designing all the spaces we occupy. We are not ones to leave something ‘as is’. We always have to do something to customize it and make it ours. There is only so much you can do with just furniture and paint. After the walls, the flooring, the lighting, and the furniture, accessories are what make a space pop and bring it to life. In terms of scale, 3D Printing is perfect for this accessorizing phase in designing a space. It’s like the sprinkles on the icing on the cake. Makelab Market helps our customers make their spaces their own. As we say, we make it for you and you make it yours.”
What kinds of products or materials/finishes do you plan to feature down the road?
“Right now, we launched with 3D printed PLA and concrete. We sell products that are made of 3D printed PLA, but we also take it a step further. Utilizing that raw 3D printed part, we make a mold and cast concrete pieces that maintain the printed texture. It ends up looking like 3D printed concrete.
“Later down the road, we’d like to experiment with more mixed media- combining 3D printed products with wood, metal, concrete, glass, and acrylic. We’re really excited to get going with these prototypes, we are already working on the next two releases!”
What are you each most excited for with the launch of Makelab Market?
CP: “Personally, I am excited to create again. I went to Pratt for Industrial Design and it’s been really good to get my hands dirty in the creating department again. The past two years I’ve been building this business with Manny, which has been one of the most fulfilling adventures in my career, but I haven’t had too much time to design products and really live in the design process. It feels refreshing.”
MM: “A wise woman once said, and I quote, ‘I am excited to create again.’ I feel exactly the same way. I am so happy to be able to finally move all these ideas out of my head and out into the world. It is so much more gratifying to design now with the ability to immediately hold what you create in your hands because of 3D printing. These are exciting times.”
3D printing was invented in the 80s but didn’t start picking up steam until the last decade. Why do you think that is?
“3D printing was invented by Charles Hull (3D Systems) in the 80s. While it was groundbreaking technology, much of it still had to be refined and was only available to other large corporations at the time because of cost and availability. In the early 2000s, the RepRap movement began which launched an open-source initiative. This new movement encouraged anyone to build their own 3D printers. Because of this newfound availability, 3D printing gained notoriety as an alternative production method thus leading to the industry we know and love today.”
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