ArchitectureArtGenerative Design

Michael Hansmeyer brings previously impossible form to life

Using generative design and 3D printing technology from voxeljet to create his 'Digital Grotesque' series

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Given the previously-closed doors that the development of 3D printing technologies have now opened, it is no surprise that this technology is as appealing to artists and designers, as it is to big businesses and industry. Although the latter tend to have more access, for obvious reasons.

However, artworks such as those from Michael Hansmeyer’s ‘Digital Grotesque’ series prove that it is still possible for artists to access this technology – and create some really incredible, never-before-seen works of art.

Michael Hansmeyer brings form to life using generative design and 3D printing technology to create his 'Digital Grotesque' series.
Image credit: Demetris Shammas and Nowy Teatr.

“Today, complexity and specificity are no longer an impediment to design and fabrication. Rather, they are opportunities that are waiting to be explored. To truly exploit the possibilities, we can no longer draw by mouse in CAD programs, nor can we use simple parametric methods. What is needed is an abstract and open-ended method: a computational approach,” reads Michael Hansmeyer’s website introduction.

Michael Hansmeyer brings form to life using generative design and 3D printing technology to create his 'Digital Grotesque' series.
Image credit: Demetris Shammas and Nowy Teatr.

Michael Hansmeyer is an architect and programmer who explores the use of algorithms to generate and fabricate architectural form. He has taught architecture as visiting professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and Southeast University in Nanjing, and held the role of lecturer at the CAAD group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), in Zurich.

“I am interested in how developments in technology are redefining, before our very eyes, what is possible in architecture and design and, above all, what is conceivable,” said Michael Hansmeyer in a recent post from voxeljet AG, on LinkedIn.

The latest in Michael Hansmeyer’s series is ‘Digital Grotesque III’, which beautifully demonstrates what is possible when elaborate algorithms and state-of-the-art 3D printing technology come together. According to Michael Hansmeyer, the tangible object that forms as a result of this combination helps ‘grasp the nature of such a fleeting concept as beauty’.

The ‘Digital Grotesque III’ column was 3D printed, in sand, using voxeljet’s VX4000 printer, and has dimensions of 1.6m x 1.6m x 5.0m, and a weight of 2.5 tons. The work is part of the BMW Art Club.

Some of Michael Hansmeyer’s recent work includes the design of two full-scale 3D printed sandstone grottos, the production of an elaborate Muqarna for Mori Art Museum, in Tokyo, the installation of a hall of columns at Grand Palais, in Paris, and the design of a white 3D printed tower for the village of Mulegns, in Switzerland.

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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