Student shows that the climate-smart interior of the future is 3D-printed

Student Malin Fleen has manufactured a biocomposite furniture using 3D printers. The furniture hints that the interior design of the future can be bio-based and far more reusable than today’s furniture.

Furniture design student Malin Fleen has discovered and shown the benefits of bio-based 3D printing by designing, developing and producing an armchair as part of his degree project at the University of Gothenburg.

The furniture has been created through additive manufacturing, that is, 3D printing, at the test facility The Wood Region in Sysslebäck, which is co-financed by the Bioinno project and the European Regional Development Fund.

The materials used are wood-based biocomposite, epoxy and linen. The method can be used to produce virtually any mold. And if you are not satisfied with the result, or when the product is worn out, you can grind more material and reuse it for a new design.

Joiner Background

It all started with a green idea that Malin Fleen got on her previous job as a sailboat builder. Traditionally, less environmentally friendly materials such as plastic and glass and carbon fiber are used for boat production. But Malin had a vision of using bio-based materials instead, which is better for the environment.

At a boat show Malin learned that flax can be used as a laminate, which took her one step closer to the dream of a more sustainable boat industry. But she still lacked a suitable core material for the forms she wanted to achieve.

– I came into contact with The Wood Region at a lecture at the university and discovered the possibilities of 3D printing with biocomposite. Then the pieces fell into place and my degree project began to take shape, says Malin.

Malin Fleen with her 3D-printed design at Gothenburg University’s graduation exhibition. The chair to the left comes directly from the printer and the right one shows how it looks in finished condition. The material used is visible on the floor.

No wear and tear

– The Wood Region has been a great help. There I tested the laminate, printed different models and got good advice, says Malin.

Malin has also collaborated with boat manufacturer Baltic Yachts and biomaterial producer UPM during her ex-job which she calls “From companies to form with sustainability in mind”. The armchair is an example of what can be done and the same material may very well emerge as future furnishings in boats and cars, in public environments or in each other’s homes.

– The material comes from renewable sources and can be reused, which is a great benefit to the environment. At the same time, 3D printing is very suitable for soft shapes and it is much easier to print than to do it by hand. In this way, it is also sustainable for companies in a timely and economical manner. Plus the material resists weather and wind.


Annica Åman

Communications Manager and Team Leader

+46 (0)70 250 94 43