Pushing Art Boundaries with 3D Printing

Pushing Art Boundaries with 3D Printing

Pushing Art Boundaries with 3D Printing
3D Printed Art & Design

3D Printing is often though of a solution to more serious challenges and problems. Engineering, design, manufacturing are all natural applications for 3D printers and the materials they use but some of the softer disciplines like art and fashion have started to use it as a brave new medium.

For artists using 3D printers, the idea that they can create unique and one-of-a-kind creations either by random chance or by careful planning brings a lot of dynamism to their creative process. More importantly, 3D printing and the range of materials that it can use, opens a palette of possibilities in 3 dimensions.


Artist and designer Daniel Widrig is collaborated with Stratasys to create a futuristic 3D printed art collection. The collection, entitled Descendants, was on view at the ‘GLOBALE: Exo-Evolution’ exhibition, which is being held at ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany, opening on October 30.

Exploring a futuristic context where technological development and computational capacities continue to spiral, Descendants addresses the increasing possibility of superior artificial intelligence and technological singularity, and how future synthetic bodies might look and feel.

“With advanced technologies, such as 3D printing, already facilitating the customization and enhancement of the human form, the concepts of a post-human era of non-biological intelligence is now much more conceivable,” explains Widrig. “It is an inevitable yet exciting design challenge to begin to speculate on how new material bodies might be formed to face the real-world constraints of the future.”


The elaborate humanoid figures were developed by overlapping high-resolution 3D scans of male and female figures with intricate digital compositions. Bringing the digital images to life, the pieces were 3D printed using Stratasys’ color, multi-material 3D printing technology. This enabled Widrig to produce the complex geometries of each piece in a range of materials, in life-size human scale (size: 1751 x 452 x 292mm [Female], 1848 x 627 x 342mm [Male]). Drawing inspiration from both human form and abstract futuristic structures, Widrig combined color with rigid and flexible materials – achievable through Stratasys’ color, multi-material 3D printing technology – to create the fluid, human-like characteristics of the pieces, while also enabling Widrig to portray an alien presence.

“There was a unique synergy in employing Stratasys’ cutting-edge multi-material 3D printing capabilities and production techniques on a project that focuses on synthetic lifeforms and advanced technologies, which adds a real sense of authenticity and depth to the collection. Working with Stratasys has provided us a great opportunity to design and realize an ambitious project that otherwise would never have been possible.”


Widrig explains how 3D Printing brings a unique scale and dimension that no other medium can represent.“Having used 3D printing for almost a decade, it is now a natural part of my studio’s workflow, and the intricate geometries of the sculptures simply could not have been produced on this scale in any other way.”




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