3D Printing Industry

7-km-Long 3D Print Hints at a Beautiful Future

This week, Milan is overtaken by the annual Salone del Mobile, the anchor of Milan Design Week and a showcase for Italian and worldwide design that encompasses furniture, lighting, and decorative objects. In the latter category, Zaha Hadid Architects unveiled a stunning example of 3D printing on a grand scale. The Thallus is composed of a single, 7-kilometer-long PLA strip that folds sinuously back into itself, forming a monumental latticed sculpture.

The artwork would be impressive without context, but when we learned that it was a single, continuous print, extruded by a robotic six-axis 3D printer — the work of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Computational Design research group (ZHA CoDe) — we were blown away. We’re lucky to have many Shapeways designers working to create spectacular works of computational design, so I’m often in awe our own community’s creations. To see it applied in a such a groundbreaking way hints that in the near future, 3D printing will enable product design techniques and geometries never before explored.

The Salone del Mobile continues through April 9. If you go, please, send pictures.

All images Luke Hayes, courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

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