Since 1664 when the first complete use of a cast iron system for water distribution was installed at Versailles, France, not much has changed in the hardware used to move water through a house.
Now a designer wants to make it possible to take control of all that plumbing and make it subject to the whims and desires of homeowners by using a new array of fittings to adapt to the familiar and readily available standardized products on the market.
"A house is a living system providing our basic needs such as electricity, water and communications. The nature of these systems is reshaped and reconfigured throughout time due to changes in technology and culture," says Israeli designer Maya Ben David. "The progress in technology allows us to reexamine the relationship between a home system and the space it enables us to create. In this context, 3D printing functions as a tool stretching existing standards and redefines them."
Ben David says she created 'Bypass,' a system of 3D printed pipe fittings, to expand the way we think about the standard-sized fittings (90 degree, 45 degree and 't' shapes) which connect piping. She says that integrating existing components – and adding a new level of flexibility to the systems through the use of 3D printing technology – will change the way we think about what's possible in home infrastructure.
Ben David, a designer, lecturer and conceptual developer, uses her projects to question traditional material culture and digital culture. A graduate of the Social Design Master program at Design Academy Eindhoven in 2011, Ben David is now a lecturer at HIT and Bezalel Academy for Art and Design. Her design studio in Bat Yam, Israel is the base she uses for her collaborative projects.
"3D printing – as other technological developments – reveals not only new abilities and techniques, but the process embodies new social, economical, cultural and political realities and visions," Ben David said. "The standard which characterized modern industrial products and systems is about to change, and with it, our physical spaces and structures. A dedicated, semi-industrial solution will take its place allowing flexibilities of systems, products and life surroundings."
The Bypass project was created for the Design Underground exhibition at Benyamini Gallery, Tel Aviv, and the exhibition was curated by Shlomit Bauman.
The ultimate goal of Bypass, says Ben David, was to demonstrate what can be done in the way of customizing simple, and often taken-for-granted, products to fit the needs and whims of a given consumer.
"We can create alternative fittings according to how we wish the pipes to go and how we imagine the space to be," she said. "Each Bypass component can match existing metal or new printed parts."