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Aectual 3D prints wall panels for NIO House Amsterdam

The new showroom for the electric car manufacturer was designed by MVRDV

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At NIO House Amsterdam, the flagship European showroom for electric car manufacturer NIO, it’s not only the vehicles that stand out. The beautifully designed space, located in a historic building on Leidsestraat in central Amsterdam, spans 2,700 square meters over several stories, integrating a car showroom, as well as a café, presentation space, children’s area, co-working spaces, design gallery, offices, event spaces and a rooftop pavilion. The layout and design of the expansive and multi-use space was the brainchild of MVRDV, a global architecture firm headquartered in The Netherlands.

While there are many interesting design elements we could talk about—including a building-wide color gradient, that starts with an earthy palette on the lower floors and transitions to a sky-blue color on the rooftop pavilion—what we’re really interested in here at VoxelMatters is how additive technologies were used to bring the architectural design to life. Well, you don’t have to look hard to see what was 3D printed in NIO House Amsterdam: the ground floor showroom features 3D printed wall panels made by Aectual, an Amsterdam-based company specializing in the design and production of 3D printed architectural elements using sustainable materials.

Nio Showroom Aectual

The Aectual Wrap panels were custom-designed for the space and are made from recycled polymer and aluminum derived from recycled beverage cartons (i.e. Tetrapak). The choice of material is in line with NIO’s vision to make its showroom as sustainable as possible, and when the wall paneling is eventually taken down, it can be shredded and used as raw material for Aectual 3D printing once again for greater circularity. This is characteristic of all Aectual’s 3D printed interior features, and the company estimates that “over a period of 50 years, [its] radical recycling can reduce material use with 600%.”

The 3D printed walls, made using large-scale robotic 3D printers, are characterized by a custom-fluted texture, which changes in subtle ways throughout the space. For example, while a fine vertical pattern is used on the wall panels near the showroom bar, the bar itself has a wider pattern. The 3D printed panels were also customized to fit the space perfectly, whether the walls were straight, cornered or curved, and integrated elements to fit around alcoves and screens. According to Aectual, it even 3D printed cladding for the elevator shaft and doors.

NIO House Amsterdam Aectual

For this particular project, the architecture firm chose Aectual’s natural “sand” color, however, the company offers a range of 13 standard colors to choose from. Notably, this is not the first time that MVRDV has enlisted Aectual’s 3D printing expertise to make a unique space. Last year, the companies teamed up on the design of Tiffany & Co.’s store in Singapore’s Changi Airport. Aectual 3D printed a marine-inspired façade for the storefront which was made from recycled ocean plastic.

You can see the 3D printed wall panels in person in Amsterdam. Just head to the Metz Building at 32-34 Leidsestraat. The Shanghai-based electric car manufacturer opened NIO House Amsterdam officially on May 23, 2024.

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1,346 polymer and metal AM companies and 143 end-users. Consumer products AM generated $2.6 billion in 2023. Segment expected to grow to $28 billion by 2033 at 26.8% CAGR. This new market study fro...

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