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Armani steps into the future with 3D printed billboard

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When thinking of billboards, one rarely thinks of state-of-the-art advertising, as the medium has existed in some form for centuries. Thanks to recent technologies, however, the giant, road-side adverts have gotten a new lease on life. 3D printing, for instance, is occasionally being used to transform the two-dimensional boards into dynamic three-dimensional installations, often resulting in a highly justified second glance from passersby.

Italian fashion house Emporio Armani is the most recent brand to utilize 3D printed billboards to promote its contemporary fashion products thanks to a partnership with Italian industrial photography studio Colorzenith. Leveraging the latter’s marketing expertise and 3D printing capabilities, the partners created an eye-grabbing billboard which gives the impression of the model stepping from the real world onto the poster.

The 3D printed components of the billboard—a shoe and partial leg—were 3D printed by Colorzenith using its large-format Massivit 3D printer. Massivit, an expert in large-format 3D printing offers two 3D printers, the Massivit 1800 with a build volume of 145 x 111 x 180 cm and the Massivit 1500 with a capacity of 147 x 117 x 137 cm.

Armani Massivit Colorzenith billboard

Both machines are based on Massivit’s Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP) technology, a proprietary process that uses UV light to instantly cure a special gel, building large-scale objects at rapid rates of up to 35 cm/h. The technology, which requires fewer supports than other polymer 3D printing processes, is therefore ideal for producing short runs or one-offs of large pieces for advertising purposes.

In bringing the 3D printed components up to advertising quality, Colorzenith experts use a range of post-processing and finishing techniques, including coating, varnishing and painting. The company writes: “3D objects can be finished with countless techniques and materials: glass fiber, adhesive vinyl, “car wrapping” cast, stucco, rigid and flexible or expanded polyurethane, varnishes, metallisation, chromium plating, transparent liquid polyester, granitic powder, marble powder, orange peel, epoxy paint, polyurea paint.”

Earlier this year, Colorzenith 3D printed a life-size replica of a classic Italian car, the Lancia B24 for the Don Pasquale opera, performed in Europe’s largest opera house, La Scala in Milan, Italy.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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