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  • Writer's pictureBenoit Valin

Discovering Lunfardo: The Argentinian Designer Pushing the Limits of 3D Printing

Updated: Jul 2

Today we discuss the innovative approach and creative resilience of Lunfardo Lab, an Argentinian brand, led by designer Ezequiel Weicman. Through an insightful interview, Ezequiel shared his journey, inspirations, and vision for the future, revealing the essence of his artistic endeavour and the waves that he has been making in the design community.

From Psychology to Design: Ezequiel’s Unconventional Path

Unlike many designers who discover their passion early, Ezequiel’s path to design was a serendipitous turn from his initial career choice. “During high school, I wanted to be a psychologist,” he recalled. However, a pivotal moment during his studies led him to reconsider his path. “One day, I found myself drawing a collapsible table instead of paying attention in class. I realised I was on the wrong track.” This epiphany propelled him into the world of carpentry, where he began exploring the fundamentals of design and digital fabrication.

Ezequiel’s initial foray into design involved working in a carpentry shop, where he learned the basics of modern woodworking and the joy of creating functional pieces from raw materials. He described his early projects, such as a chair from Open Desk, which allowed him to experiment with designs and understand the nuances of craftsmanship. These experiences laid a solid foundation for his future endeavors, fostering a deep appreciation for both the artistic and technical aspects of design.

Ezequiel's first project, the Open Desk Chair
Ezequiel's first project, the Open Desk Chair

The transition from woodworking to 3D printing was significantly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. “During the pandemic, 3D printers became more affordable, and I bought an Ender 3,” he explained. Initially downloading models and experimenting with different designs, Ezequiel soon realised the potential of creating his own pieces. This marked the beginning of his foray into 3D printing, with his early projects focusing on simple yet impactful designs like flower pots. His journey from psychology to design highlights his adaptability and commitment to pursuing his true passion.

Embracing Digital Fabrication: The Shift to 3D Printing

The shift to 3D printing represented a significant transformation in Ezequiel’s approach to design. Starting with basic models, he gradually explored more complex geometries and textures. His introduction to Grasshopper, a graphical algorithm editor tightly integrated with Rhino’s 3D modeling tools, opened up new possibilities. “At first, I found a really easy tutorial on Grasshopper and made some flower pot designs,” he recalled. These early successes motivated him to explore

 deeper into digital design and fabrication.

When discussing his design language, Ezequiel emphasised the importance of texture and morphology. “I define my style with two words: texture and morphology,” he said. His fascination with these elements is evident in his work, where he meticulously integrates complex textures and shapes to create visually compelling pieces. This unique approach not only sets his designs apart but also showcases his mastery of 3D printing technology.

Closeup of Julian Lamp's Texture
Closeup of Julian Lamp's Texture

Ezequiel’s designs are characterised by their intricate textures and innovative forms. He draws inspiration from various sources, including everyday objects and moments of relaxation. “My inspirations come when I chill during the day. An idea might come to me suddenly, and I start playing with Grasshopper to create a shape I hadn’t imagined before,” he shared. This spontaneous and experimental approach allows Ezequiel to continually push the boundaries of his creativity, embracing the potential of digital fabrication to transform traditional design paradigms.

Crafting Iconic Creations: Lunfardo’s Signature Designs

Among his numerous creations, the Clara lampshade stands out as one of Ezequiel’s favorites. “Every time I look at it, it amazes me because I wasn’t expecting such a great reception,” he said. The Clara lampshade, with its intricate design and exceptional craftsmanship, embodies Ezequiel’s ability to blend functionality with aesthetic appeal. Another notable design is the Leo multi-shade, which, despite its impressive structure and design, has not received the recognition Ezequiel believes it deserves: “Leo resembles bamboo and has a unique texture, but it’s a big model, which might be why it’s less popular,” he noted.

Lunfardo Lab's Clara Lampshade
Lunfardo Lab's Clara Lampshade

Ezequiel’s journey has seen the evolution of his designs from simple flower pots to intricate lampshades and vases. Each piece reflects his growing expertise and confidence in using 3D printing technology. His early works, like the Weego flower pot, showcased his ability to create visually appealing yet functional items. Over time, his designs have become more complex, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with 3D printing. The Clara lampshade, for instance, is a testament to his skill in creating designs that are both technically challenging and aesthetically pleasing.

Lunfardo Lab's Weego Flower Pot
Lunfardo Lab's Weego Flower Pot

Colour plays a crucial role in Ezequiel’s designs, with a preference for matte finishes. “I focus mainly on matte colours because shiny PLA can make the material look cheaper,” he explained. This choice not only enhances the visual appeal of his pieces but also addresses concerns about the ecological and aesthetic aspects of using plastic in 3D printing. By opting for matte finishes, Ezequiel ensures his designs have a premium look and feel, countering the often negative perceptions associated with plastic products. This approach also aligns with his broader commitment to sustainability.

Lunfardo Lab's Pipe, Berry and Hexa Vases
Lunfardo Lab's Pipe, Berry and Hexa Vases

Overcoming Challenges: Innovating in 3D Printing

Ezequiel’s journey has not been without its challenges. From dealing with the limitations of 3D printing technology to navigating the complexities of design certification in different regions, he has had to adapt and innovate continuously. One of the significant hurdles he faces is ensuring his designs are accessible and easy to print for users with varying levels of experience. “I receive a lot of questions on how to print my designs, so I’m working on creating tutorials to help users,” he mentioned. This dedication to user support highlights his commitment to making 3D printing more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

3D printing, while offering incredible creative freedom, also presents unique challenges. Ezequiel has faced issues such as ensuring structural integrity, managing print times, and dealing with material limitations. His ability to innovate within these constraints is evident in his designs. For instance, the complex textures and shapes of his lampshades require precise control over printing parameters, a challenge he embraces. “The biggest challenge is to push the limits of what the 3D printer can do,” he said, highlighting his drive to continuously explore and expand the capabilities of the technology.

Vision for the Future: Expanding Horizons in Design

Looking ahead, Ezequiel is optimistic about the future of his design practice. He envisions experimenting with multiple materials and integrating fabric into 3D printing, exploring new textures and forms. “I’m already experimenting with fabric and 3D printing, but I’m not sure if it’s the right approach for everyone,” he mused. Despite the uncertainties, Ezequiel remains committed to pushing the limits of what 3D printing can achieve, always striving to create designs that are both innovative and impactful.

Ezequiel’s vision for the future extends beyond his current work. He is keen to explore large-scale 3D printing and digital design tools that could revolutionise the industry. His interest in sustainability continues to drive his experimentation with eco-friendly materials and production methods. “I want to create designs that not only look good but also have a minimal environmental impact,” he stated, reflecting his holistic approach to design. This forward-thinking attitude ensures that Ezequiel’s designs will remain relevant and influential in the ever-changing landscape of digital fabrication.

Beyond his individual achievements, Ezequiel is deeply committed to the broader design community. He actively engages with fellow designers through platforms like Discord and exhibitions, sharing his knowledge and learning from others. This collaborative spirit is central to his approach, as he believes that collective innovation can drive the field forward. “I like to chat with people and see how their prints come up,” he said, highlighting his openness to feedback and new ideas. This commitment to community and collaboration underscores his vision for a more inclusive and innovative future in design.

A Designer for the Digital Age: Lunfardo’s Lasting Impact

Ezequiel’s journey from a carpentry workshop in Argentina to the global forefront of 3D printing technology is a testament to his resilience and creativity. His work demonstrates a unique blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern innovation, offering valuable insights into the future of design. As he continues to explore new possibilities in digital fabrication, Ezequiel’s designs are sure to inspire and transform spaces with their distinctive textures, forms, and colours. His dedication to sustainability and continuous experimentation ensures that his designs will remain at the cutting edge of the industry.

For anyone passionate about the future of design, Ezequiel’s work provides a fascinating glimpse into the potential of 3D printing as a medium for artistic expression and practical innovation. His commitment to sustainability, community engagement, and continuous experimentation ensures that his designs will remain at the cutting edge of the industry for years to come. By continuing to push the boundaries of his craft, Ezequiel exemplifies the spirit of modern design: a relentless pursuit of innovation balanced by a deep respect for tradition and sustainability.

As Ezequiel looks to the future, his legacy is already being shaped by his innovative contributions to design. 

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