Studio Nilli is the brainchild of industrial designer Huw Williams. Based in North London he produces 3D printed plant pots from bioplastic, an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional plastics.
These little pots are stylishly designed and celebrate the ribbed texture created by 3D printing. With a nod to Scandinavian design, they are minimal, light and elegant. We stock three colours of the Studio Nilli pots, White, Dark Grey and Teal. With five different sizes to choose from, there is sure to be one to fit any corner of your home.
We have asked him a few questions about his process and inspiration as well as looking at the pots in closer detail.
How did you get into 3D printing?
I’ve always been interested in 3D printing a tool for designers to prototype and test their concepts, but I didnt get the chance to experiment much with one whilst I studied Industrial Design and Technology at Brunel Uni. I bought a cheap kit printer from China to learn more about it back in 2016, and through testing the boundaries of my machine and experimenting with different printing techniques I started printing pots for my plant collection (which was fairly out of control back then).
How does your design process start? Through drawing or digital?
The design process is pretty fluid for me, but I do like to start with sketching as the main medium. I have several sketch books, but mostly I draw with whatever is available when something triggers an idea. Once I have an idea sketched out, I’ll make a card model or jump onto the computer and start drawing on Illustrator, or onto a 3D design package.
What inspires the shape of your designs?
The original origami pot shape I started Nilli with was a natural progression from some origami textures I modelled for a project at Uni. After graduating I experimented with casting cement into single use card moulds, even did some slip-casting moulds for ceramic pots, before deciding it would be a great form for the pots I 3D print now. The leggy pots come from a love of mid-century modern design and Scandinavian influences. I think the main thing that excites and influences me is how to use the materials and process of 3D printing in a unique and novel way, contrasting with other materials and textures, using the process to produce forms that would not be possible with other forms of manufacture.
Tell us about the bioplastic you use?
So the plastic I use is a common 3D printing material – PLA or Polylactic Acid. It is a bioplastic, which means that it is produced from organic materials like sugarcane or cornstarch. This is fermented to produce lactic acid (the same stuff that gives us cramp after too much rigorous exercise), which is then polymerised – lots of lactic acids chained together – to make polylactic acid. The main benefits of using this plastic is that it is a renewable source of material, does not use petrochemical fuels as a base so is non-toxic, so when printing it doesn’t release any harmful gases – it actually smells like sugar when printing. It will also biodegrade faster than normal plastics, over around 500 years it will break down naturally, or it can be industrially composted and it will return back to its base organic compounds in a few days. I also recycle waste that I produce into jewellery, coasters and hopefully larger items soon. It’s a minimal amount, because 3D printing is an additive process and there is not much waste involved, but I think its important to use as much as possible!
Lets take a closer look at the pots:
The Small, Medium and Large Geometric Planter’s have a strong graphic shape, almost origami like. These pots sit flat on a surface, with a cork base to stop scratches. They are not only plant pots, perfect for those succulents and cacti! Use them for anything from storing pens and pencils on your desk, to a tidy for make up brushes or accessories.
The Tall and Short Legged Panters are the curvaceous cousins of the Geometric Pots. Clean and modern shaping, with a distinctly mid-century modern feel. These pots sit proudly on two sizes of beeswax finished wooden legs. The plump curves, satisfyingly hugging the legs, create a pleasing synergy between the two materials. The White Planters have beech legs and the Dark Grey have walnut, giving a complimentary natural feel.
Find more Studio Nilli planters at ofcabbagesandkings.co.uk