Designing out of thin air

New Sketch Furniture, a 3.5-minute video produced by the international design firm FRONT, is the most oddly mesmerizing demo of gee-whiz technologies that we’ve seen lately.

Basically, two of the firm’s principals use motion-capture technology to record exceedingly rough sketches, in 3-D space, of a chair, table, and lamp. The sketches are then converted into actual objects using rapid prototyping technology, in which lasers fuse layers of liquid plastic together. Voilà: nearly instant furniture.

But never mind the sketchy furniture; it’s the magical Jetsonian process of creation we love.

The video has some viewers on YouTube — where it’s accrued a quarter-million-plus views in mere days — crying “hoax.” But in fact, motion-capture technology is used regularly in Hollywood (e.g., in the animated Tom Hanks movie The Polar Express), and rapid prototyping is an increasingly common design tool.

FRONT, incidentally, is a cool all-woman firm — four 2003 graduates of a Stockholm design school who are already rock stars in the design world, thanks to witty creations such as “Fly Lamp,” in which a fly’s flight path around a lightbulb was motion-captured and materialized into a lampshade.

WATCH New Sketch Furniture

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Designing out of thin air