Trading Ovens for 3D Printers: Beirut’s theBAKERY Makes History in Eyewear, Art & Robotics

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UntitledtheBAKERY may no longer be producing confectionery treats, but the spirit of creativity is certainly still housed within, along with production of materials that aren’t edible, but are certainly still very pleasing to –and even made for–the eye. Sitting along Mar Mikhaël in the Achrafieh district of Beirut, Lebanon, what’s going on inside theBAKERY today still fits in just as well with the general vibe, and the smattering of art galleries, shops, and restaurants.

Responsible for the new level of productive hustle and bustle going on within the building that once housed flour-speckled floors and warm ovens, Guillaume Crédoz, a French architect, has turned the place into a design lab house called RapidManufactory. Not only it is a unique 3D printing venue, but it takes its place in history as the first 3D printing shop in the Middle East. Crédoz opened the shop in 2013, and has been involved in the exploration of digital design and 3D printing ever since. Not only that, RapidManufactory also dabbles in other projects, to include robotics and even toymaking.cropped-140129_theObsessiveDrafter_rendering_005
Crédoz and his team employ several different pieces of equipment, each meeting a specific need, but they do have their favorite.

“We mainly use three 3D printers, the preferred one being the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), because it’s fast, precise, doesn’t require any support and can produce objects of any complexity, including mechanical joints, hinges and gear systems,” Crédoz said.


“Insane precision of SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) applied to architecture scale model,” RapidManufactory notes on their Facebook page. “Very solid thin details and gorgeous translucency. #architecture by @ghouyoum”

Their other two printers are used in the manufacturing of their eyewear, famous for its plant-based frames, and also putting RapidManufactory in the history books again–this time, as the first eyewear manufacturer in Lebanon. RapidManufactory is made up of a dynamic team that obviously doesn’t like following the norm. They like leading the pack. And yet another machine in their arsenal helps to continue in that vein as well.

“There is also a third 3D printer for which we engineered some powders ourselves, like the glow in the dark and our unique concrete powder with which we broke some world records including the smallest and most precise object ever done in concrete and the first eyewear in concrete,” said Crédoz.

Aside from 3D printing, the team became interested in robotics when they embarked upon an art installation, The Obsessive Drafter. Although they probably won’t have a lineup of robotics works being produced anytime soon, this ended up being an unforgettable–and inimitable–abstract work. Partnering with Nareg Karaolaghnian, who is an engineer in fluid mechanics teaching at University of Beirut, the team made a robot that looks like a human arm and is also able to function as one–and a very artistic one at that–capable of drawing frescoes and portraits.


[Photo: RapidManufactory]

The installation took two months to make and was presented at Design Days Dubai last year, allowing for participation by viewers who were able to interrupt the robotic arm while it was drawing, and have it instead focus its efforts on them, drawing portraits.

“We are currently looking for another invitation in order to move on to the next generation of it, with a lot of enhancements,” said Crédoz.

The team has also, in a comprehensive and continual marathon of creative energy, created QalamSila. Putting their 3D printers to work, QalamSila is a construction toy made by coupling regular pencils with 3D printed connectors.

“As we caught the intention of some investors, we will continue to grow and strengthen our Research & Creation department,” Crédoz added. “The variety of people working here, their cross-platform capacities, and our constant jumps from digital to analog are the strengths of RapidManufactory.”

It’s difficult to imagine how even an entire artistic team is fitting in so many design interests at once, but certainly we’ll waiting to see how they put those 3D printers back to work to make history again. They may be short on pastries and bread–but the design menu is full of talent and creativity–with certainly much more coming to the table shortly.

Discuss this story in the theBAKERY forum thread on 3DPB.com.

[Source: Wamda]

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