3D-Printing The Most Ornate Room

It’s no secret that we like 3D printing, but Artist and architect [Michael Hansmeyer] really likes 3D printing. So much so that he’s based his entire career around exploring the artistic possibilities of what he calls “computational architecture”.

live9We first fell in love with [Michael]’s work “Columns” because it was both daring and relatively low-budget at the same time. He made a series of architectural-sized columns out of cross-sections of laser-cut cardboard. Why cardboard? Because his goal was to make the columns as complex as possible and the current range of 3D printers couldn’t give him the resolution he wanted.


installation3Fast-forward to “Digital Grotesque”. Now [Michael] has access to a large-scale sand printer, and the license to go entirely nuts. He makes a space reminiscent of a Rococo grotto, but full of so much detail that you can’t really take it all in: it’s nearly fractal. Some stats: 11 tons of printed sandstone, 260 million surfaces, 30 billion voxels. We’re stoked that we don’t have to dust it!


arabesque_wall11His latest piece, “Arabesque Wall” is partly organic and elegant, and part Aliens. If we can play art critic, we think it’s beautiful. Go click through the portfolio. (And although they never got printed, we really like some of the “Voxels” series of cellular-automata pieces.)

From new paint materials opening up new color possibilities to new instruments enabling entirely different types of music, art, and technology mutually inform each other much more than we often appreciate. In ten years time, we’ll be looking back on this work and saying “this piece looks good” and “that piece looks bad” instead of “wow, amazing tech!”. But for now, we’re also content to wallow in the “wow”.

21 thoughts on “3D-Printing The Most Ornate Room

      1. As far as Gaudi, a lot of Hansmeyer’s work reminds me of the Sagrada Família, which I had toured a few years ago. All those lovely, fiddly details, but many people don’t realize that much of Gaudi’s inspiration came straight from nature.

        Definitely reminds me of Geiger’s work as well.

        As for Bosch? I have an art book of his work. Inspired, or just insane? Does it matter? Still cool.

        Mr Hansmeyer, keep innovating. You seem to be on the right track to invent something new.

    1. I always thought aesthetics normally comes down to a careful balance between chaos and order. Some fundamentally human brain thing where we need just the right amount of a recognizable pattern.

  1. The Victorian homes got their gingerbread because mass production made it cheap to get the gingerbread features and for a while, everyone went nuts adding it ‘because they could’ (and prior to that, only the very rich were able to afford such decorations)

    In the ’70s (roughly), similar new changes in colors, tiles, wallpaper, etc made it cheap to add lots of color and patterns to walls, floors, and appliances. These are all the bright pink bathrooms, Avocado green kitchens, etc that are being ripped out now.

    Then the ‘Modern’ style homes happened because large panels became readily available and cheap. Prior to this, large, undecorated surfaces were expensive because they were so unforgiving to minor flaws, so the labor to get them right was too expensive.

    Some of these styles have held up over time, many haven’t

    Now, it’s time for people to go nuts with the possibilities of 3D printing, and some of the stuff will be silly overkill that nobody would want to actually live in, but there will be elements in there that may last

    If you look at Fashion/Trends, you will see that there is a strong correlation between what is considered ‘Trendy’ and the difficulty in doing it. Then technology makes the ‘new fashion’ much easier to do and a few years later it stops being so attractive. This even applies to preferred body shapes for people. When food was scarce, and most people did manual labor outside, the most attractive people were large and pale, because that indicated that they were rich enough to afford a lot of food and not have to be out in the sun. As times changed and good has become plentiful, and most people work in sedentary indoors jobs, the attractive ideal has become slim, tanned, and muscled because that means that you have the money to afford the time to not be indoors all the time and a lot of time in the gym.

    1. Too true.

      I grew up in one of these “straw and gold” (colors, not materials) houses where most of the features of the home are custom because the “cheap” decor made the custom work affordable. I don’t know what went where but I imagine having a 10″ thick door, the huge windows, and the artistic cast iron fire place were made possible by the lower costs of the more fashionable, and cheaper, features.

      1. They’ll outlaw genetic engineering for “playing god,” “decreasing biodiversity,” or whatever other excuse, conveniently ignoring any attempt to distinguish between preventing genetic disorders and so-called designer babies.

        1. Alternatively, market forces cause the most “desirable” features to be the most expensive, pricing poor people out of the market.

          The future is a boot stomping on a human genome forever.

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