digital grotesque: a 3D printed room by michael hansmeyer digital grotesque: a 3D printed room by michael hansmeyer
jun 20, 2013

digital grotesque: a 3D printed room by michael hansmeyer

80 million surfaces generated using 3D modeling software and mesh-based digital language have resulted in a series of 3D printed complex architectural objects by michael hansmeyer and benjamin dillenburger.
entitled ‘digital grotesque,’ the work will culminate in a full scale printed room launching july 22nd; however, a 1:3 scale prototype premiered in the swiss art awards this week in basel, switzerland. the prototypes show a regard for both material sensitivity and the limits of technologically manipulated form — millions of grains of sand bind together to create a new typology of sandstone and subsequently treated to be glazed and gilded. drawing from the algorithmic confines of the game of life and cell division, a set of simple geometries met with minimal parameters begets a highly involved form.




the drawing, generation and fabrication process is highlighted for the 1:3 prototype of the 3-d printed room, recently part of the exhibit ‘materializing’ at tokyo university of the arts
all images and video courtesy of digital grotesque



the result is rich, shimmering composition ridden with impossible undercuts and a transcendental sense of the limits of technology. the term grotesque is derived from the unplanned complexities of a water-shaped grotto, itself a naturally occurring architecture long regarded for the uncanny presence of human-sized spaces in various landscapes. while hansmeyer and his lab in ETH zurich have long explored the confluence of algorithms, control systems and technology, the project works with the basic architectural idea of a room and injects an unprecedented sense of wonder into tectonics once held unchanging.


a complex world of forms arises at multiple scales: between ornament and structure, between order and chaos, foreign and yet familiar: a digital grotesque.

view of the gilded 1:3 model prefaces the gilded full scale room

3d printed sandstone is gold leafed by hand

prototype view

impossible intricacy characterizes the space

3d printing allows formerly unseen levels in detail in architectural objects

algorithms for cell division were appropriated to generate the form

gilding in process

detail of the triple treated sandstone

other prototypes show an entirely white iteration

the 3d printed room will maintain the same level of intricacy

a shift in scale will reframe the possibilities of the work

millions of grains of sand are bound together to form an intricate shape

the freshly printed structure




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