design collaborations


"Art and design has always been fundamentally about contrast: color and light"
Louis Lim

Mobius line drawing
Mobius Bench

A collaboration between 3form and Brooklyn-based designer Louis Lim of Makingworks has resulted in the creation of Mobius.

Mobius is an interactive, circular bench that is activated by touch, and transforms with light. Lim took up a five-week residency at 3form’s Salt Lake City headquarters and factory earlier this year. There, he experimented with the specialty machines 3form uses to cut, bend, and fabricate signature materials like Varia and Chroma.

Initiated by Talley Goodson, 3form CEO, shortly after he met Lim during NYCxDesign in 2016, this first-of-its-kind designer collaboration took Lim behind the scenes with 3form’s development team and fabricators, allowing him to take full advantage of 3form’s wide range of materials and capabilities.

Lim challenged 3form’s processes and discovered new ways to create furniture through combining his handcraft with 3form’s high-tech capabilities.

“Black is the absence of light, it is space and void, yet Dark Chroma expresses color, light and form. I find this paradox beautiful, mysterious and magical–making it perfect for Mobius.” Louis Lim, Mobius creator

Louis Lim

We sat down with Louis and talked to him more about his process and vision for Mobius

Tell us about your work as an industrial designer.

Coming from a sculpture and art background, my approach is very hands on. As I design, I imagine how I would build the piece and the details emerge through this process. Sometimes, I don’t know how to build it, but it pushes me as both a designer and a maker. Knowing and learning in both helps me innovate.

What are the origins of your craft?

I learned how to design through physical model making—creating scaled models in paper, foam and wood. Now I utilize 3D software, yet the basics and process remain the same.

I typically work by hand with wood and a little bit of metal. I’ve also done some things with acrylics and resins but not extensively before this collaboration.

Why is working with 3form different?

3form’s resources not only reside in its facilities and machines but most critically with its people. Many of the fabricators and engineers have had years of experience and constantly desire to innovate.

The materials also offer the opportunity for my imagination to realize ideas like never before. Almost any shape, color, and light can be expressed—and at a speed and a level of precision that I’ve never been able to achieve by hand. It has pushed me as a designer and artist.

Mobius is the perfect blend of 3form's technical expertise and your trademarks as a designer: interaction and simplicity. Why make a bench?

Ultimately, I aim to evoke a feeling of joy and passion through Mobius.

Benches are historically public and transient. They are objects people pass by and pause to rest or to contemplate and perhaps converse with a stranger. By suggesting certain seating arrangements for people, they are forced to interact with each other in new ways, namely in a playful and whimsical way in an otherwise benign situation.

You are the first designer to work with Dark Chroma. What was that experience like?

I love challenge and discovery. Dark Chroma is all of that and more.

As a material, it can appear black or gray depending on the form and ambient lighting. You can hide a lot of imperfections that may arise from fabrication, yet every little flaw and detail is amplified when lit. The colors it expresses are incredible.

Color and light quality are the biggest challenge for many lighting objects. Anytime a diffuser is used, the color tint changes because of the material itself, not the light. Yet Dark Chroma shows light and color with amazing saturation and fidelity. 

I imagine this material will be popular in architectural applications because something black turning into light is primordial and magical. Having the ability to then change it with colored light will transform every project from the ordinary to spectacular. 

Art and design has always been fundamentally about contrast: color and light. Dark Chroma is that material.

Lim working on details of Mobius Lim working on details of Mobius
Mobius profile