The integration of critical thinking and digital manufacturing in interior design product development



Interior & Furniture Design


  • 4IR, computational origami, critical thinking, digital manufacturing


In recent years, digital fabrication has become an increasingly popular tool in the design field. By integrating digital manufacturing techniques into the design process, designers can produce more innovative and sustainable products while minimising material waste. In this paper, we present a model of approach that incorporates digital fabrication into the prototyping of interior design products using Origami-based techniques. Origami, the antique art of paper folding, has long been admired for its beauty and precision. One of the main benefits of Origami-based techniques is that they provide a way to create complex forms using only simple folds, transforming a bi-dimensional surface into a 3D object. This makes them particularly useful for projecting design objects, such as room dividers, which must be functional and visually appealing. The study involved a group of students who were allowed to study digital fabrication techniques and apply them to the singularity of their product through design thinking and reverse engineering. The study is a pilot for a master’s thesis, focusing on the integration of folding in digital fabrication, therefore this project allows the preliminary collection of data that can be used to implement the outcome of the thesis.

By merging activities such as folding, digital fabrication, and prototyping, students could focus on art and design, problem-solving, and critical thinking. By combining wood, paper, silicone, and 3D printing filament, the students were able to create room dividers that were both functional and visually striking. The study emphasised the importance of integrating critical thinking and digital manufacturing throughout the design process and in doing so, allowed the participants to identify potential problems and come up with innovative solutions. The students could quickly and efficiently produce prototypes using digital manufacturing techniques, allowing them to test their designs and make necessary adjustments.

The paper provides a framework for integrating critical thinking and digital manufacturing in interior design product development, from ideation to prototyping. It provides examples of how these approaches can be used at each stage to produce more innovative and sustainable products. The study also highlights the versatility of Origami-based techniques, particularly in creating double-purpose room dividers adaptable to the space’s visual needs. The folds can also be used as an integral feature of the product, providing stability and structural needs. Origami-based techniques were revealed to be a perfect way of creating a double-purpose room divider, which is also adaptable to the visual needs of the space.


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