At first, van der Kley was determined to ensure that his creation fulfilled a function, but he never found anything appropriate for it to do. “I was doing furniture for over twenty years, and then you grow up with the idea that everything has got to have a function,” he said. “Yet you can design whatever you like, but if you can sit in it, you can say, Hey, it’s a chair. But if it doesn’t do that, then all of a sudden it’s considered art.”
Suchmann, in an attempt to synthesize the two concepts, provided the answer: Although the Egg performs no function as furniture, it has been used to raise 3D printing awareness, and allow for matters of 3D education to be discussed with an American audience — which is well behind European audiences on the 3D printing curve. Suchmann even asked schools with 3D printers to print stones for the project themselves, in an effort to involve students in the hands-on part of the process.
“Every teacher I know wants their students to be part of something bigger than the classroom,” said Suchmann. “This is a way to become part of a global collaborative project.”
But why Project Egg? Suchmann smiled in answer. “It’s the natural shape of birth,” he said. “It’s beginnings. So this project is the beginnings of what will hopefully be a worldwide raised awareness. [Michiel was] trying to come up with the purpose of art. Well, what is the purpose of art? Art is to invoke an emotion — and to begin discussion.”
Those hoping to participate in Project EGG can adopt a stone for $20, or print and donate a stone of their own. Donors’ names will appear on their stones. For details, see van der Kley’s website for Project Egg.