DHub (Disseny Hub) – Barcellona (Spagna)

Martí Guixé’s Ex-Designer Project Bar, an exceptional project that turns a digitally designed interior, produced entirely using full-size 3D printing techniques into a standalone object, will be on display at the Disseny Hub Barcelona (DHub) from May 23 to August 25.

The project was born in November 2015, when Martí Guixé, one of Barcelona’s most internationally influential 21st century designers, set out to design and 3D-print, independently and without help, all the components of a bar on Barcelona’s C/ Entença in collaboration with architect Pau Badia. The bar, an empty commercial unit with minimal structure, was gradually redesigned and built over a period of almost five years, using three on-site printers while still in operation. Thus, all the bar’s components were gradually printed: everything from the tiles on the walls and the furniture down to the smallest utensils, such as glasses of different types, plates and cutlery.

According to Martí Guixé, the process itself is what matters, so the project became something performative, incorporating coincidence in a natural way.

The use of the establishment as a bar—where concerts, presentations, talks and other events were also held—was just as important as its role as a laboratory for experimenting on the possibilities of additive printing, and the utopia of digital autonomy. The project explores the true potential of digital fabrication technologies to achieve the dream of self-sufficiency for local production, without having to rely on large global manufacturing systems.

Just as the bar was finished, with the grand opening scheduled for February 2020, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown forced it to close. It then underwent a process of “deconstruction”, which was carried out behind closed doors and in an orderly manner, like a work of archaeology, in order to preserve it in full. The Ex-Designer Project Bar thus ceased to be a bar or a work of interior design to become a standalone “object” adapted for other possible uses.

Martí Guixé’s Ex-Designer Bar is a reflection on the potential for democratising industrial production and the industrial process: “The use of 3D technology makes artisans redundant and unifies materials. The world is made up of ideas, not of people’s energy”. He also said that “bringing the Ex-Designer Bar to a museum turns it into an object, a ruin and an archaeological site of the future”.

The first full-size reconstruction of the bar
With Ex-Designer Project Bar, the DHub is exhibiting this monumental object in its original format, after assembling the walls and other various components: A total of 30 wooden panels measuring 122 cm x 150 cm, plus over six thousand 14 cm x 14 cm tiles. The result is an installation that measures 8.75 x 3.56 m and is 5.02 m high, whose component parts have been 3D-printed in full size using polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable polymer made from 100% renewable resources, such as corn or plant starch.

The interior walls include the front of the bar, which features figurative motifs from other projects by Martí Guixé, the side bars with experiments with bas-reliefs and pseudo-geometric figures in various sizes and thicknesses, and unsuccessful attempts to create a series of bag and coat hooks. There is also a notice board with backlit tiles for posting information about events and food and drink prices, as well as a front panel in which the main figure represents Artificial Intelligence, a representation of all the 3D printers used, including the one for printing food.

In addition to the installation itself, Ex-Designer Project Bar includes a space with a screen showing a number of images of the bar’s production process (2015 to 2020) and subsequent dismantling. This is further supplemented by an exhibition of some of the original items from the bar, ranging from tiles, crockery and drinking glasses of different types to other kitchen utensils and an original stool.

Link: www.dissenyhub.barcelona