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Patricia Urquiola and Aectual take the floor at BMW exhibit

BMW's new 'Progressive Luxury meets Creative Excellence' exhibition features a custom 3D printed floor

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Though we often write about how 3D printing is impacting automotive design, we don’t often see the technology being used to augment the display of a vehicle. As BMW recently demonstrated, however, 3D printing can be used to take an automotive unveiling to a whole new level.

Earlier today, the automotive manufacturer launched “Progressive Luxury meets Creative Excellence,” an exhibition at BMW Welt in Munich that is showcasing the BMW 7 Series, the first-ever BMW X7 and the 8 Series line-up, designed by BMW director of design Adrian van Hooydonk.

And while the cars are the stars of the show, so to speak, our attention has been drawn to another element of the exhibition: the floor.

BMW Aectual Urquiola

Spanish designer and architect Patricia Urquiola teamed up with 3D printing design tech company Aectual to create a truly stunning 3D printed floor for the exhibit. The one-of-a-kind surface spans over 320 square meters and consists of a 3D printed wavy white pattern with a dark green and white marble terrazzo infill.

Aectual, a company specializing in custom 3D printed floors, assisted in the production of the exhibition floor piece, using its 3D printing process to deposit bio-based plastics into the designated pattern. The process enables clients to create floors with virtually any pattern.

While a show-stopper in itself, the 3D printed floor drew together other spatial design elements conceived of by Urquiola, including her signature furniture and metallic mesh curtains. Overall, the cohesive and almost ethereal space was the perfect setting for an exhibit called “Progressive Luxury meets Creative Excellence.”

Van Hooydonk commented on the stunning exhibit design, saying: “What I admire about Patricia’s work is that she approaches design from a human perspective. She creates exquisite products and luxurious spaces—but always with a warm heart, a central thread of humanity and a personal narrative. I admire that because it’s something we also channel into our design processes at BMW Design. Patricia is, in my view, not only a fantastic person, she’s also an outstanding partner to work with on creative projects and one who I value highly.”

Aectual has also made custom floors for a number of other clients, including DUS architects and Mae Engelgeer for Wallpaper Handmade (both floors were on display at Salone Del Mobile in Milan last Spring). The Amsterdam-based company aims not just to create unique and eye-grabbing floor surfaces, but to do so in the most sustainable way possible.

As it writes on its website: “Our materials are bio-based or recycled and our production process is streamlined towards zero waste. Our flooring solution can make use of corporate waste streams, which is a great way to demonstrate corporate responsibility.”

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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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