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Radiolaria - 
fragments of nature

Radiolaria is a real size 3D printed model of a chair made out of a single material that incorporates all functionalities: flexibility, adaptability, firmness, and stability.


“Nature may seem at first glance random and free-flowing, but if you look on a microscopic level, you can find symmetry and geometry in almost all cell structures.” 


Own project with support from Stimuleringsfonds Talent Development

Type of work
Research, biomimicry

Production and material
Oceanz 3D

With Radiolaria, Lilian continues her quest to improve, adjust and innovate the production of soft-seating by making use of nature’s laws. In this project design, nature and the newest technology come together to use

energy and material in the most efficient way. This result is a chair constructed without glue out of a single material: recycled polyamide (PA 12), provided by Oceanz 3D printing.  

What can nature and its smallest life-forms teach us? These small life-forms are the starting point of Lilian van Daal’s research.


The microorganisms Radiolaria and Bryozoa form the main source of her inspiration. Radiolaria are unicellular organisms that are found as zooplankton throughout the ocean and take their name from the radial symmetry of their skeletal spines.


The structure of Radiolaria amplified by 3D printing affords various levels of flexibility and comfort without using different types of foam like in common soft seating.

Radiolaria_lilian van daal_07.jpg

Bryozoa are moss animals that live in tropical waters and freshwater environments. The lattice of connections within Bryozoa skeletons inspired Lilian to create a system of connection points for assembly of the chair without extra materials such as glue. In general, the leading principle in Radiolaria #1 is formed by symmetry which is also the main characteristic in all unicellular organisms.


Radiolaria was produced by Oceanz 3D printing which provides cutting edge machines with which structures can be created that mimic natural solutions for durability, flexibility and connectivity on a microscopic level. The result is a blend of technology, design and nature celebrating the best of all three.

Bridging technology and nature through design

Radiolaria is a successor to Lilian’s graduation project Biomimicry Soft Seating (2014). Since the very first soft seating project, production time and energy consumption have both been decreased by 50% due to optimizations in the design that allow all elements of one chair to fit in one production run of the 3D printing machine. Novel material research conducted by Oceanz has allowed Lilian to use recyclable materials for printing.

“The intricate shapes of flowers. The mesh-networks of fungi. The perfect geometry of organisms. They have been crafted, remodeled and burnished during billions of years of biological trial and error. Implementing their unique and meticulous properties in design has been difficult, but recent technology has fueled possibilities for new development of products and systems.”

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