How WASP helped bring a 3D printed sensory garden to life

The garden is on showcase at the acclaimed RHS Chelsea Flower Show

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The annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, one of the most anticipated flower and garden shows in the UK and beyond, is showcasing the latest in garden design this week, including a flood resilient garden, a Bridgerton garden and—our favorite of the bunch—a 3D printed sensory ceramic garden. This garden, designed by Italian landscape designer Giulio Giorgi, features over 600 ceramic planters 3D printed in collaboration with WASP, an Italian company specializing in large-scale architectural 3D printing.

Giorgi’s garden, which can be experienced until May 25, 2024, was realized in partnership with World Child Cancer UK (with funding from Project Giving Back) and was designed with the express goal of making a sensory haven for children going through cancer treatments.

WASP RHS Chelsea Flower Show
(Photo: Guy Bell Alamy | Telegraph)

Sensory gardens are designed to appeal and engage with all your senses—sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. “It’s a garden that lets children live in the moment and connect with nature while being treated in the hospital,” Giorgi explains. “Touching, smelling, tasting… those sensory experiences let them forget for a little while the hard time they’re living through.”

The sensory garden that is currently on showcase at RHS Chelsea Flower Show is designed to be replicable in various climates and settings. Ultimately, the aim is for more gardens like it to be built at hospitals where World Child Cancer UK and similar NGOs operate. Central to this adaptability are the 3D printed ceramic modules, which are designed for easy stacking and customization. These module design was conceived of by Giorgi and Giuseppe Fallacara, a professor at the Polytechnic University of Bari.

WASP RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The modular 3D printed clay planters are inspired by keyhole gardens, first developed in sub-Saharan Africa as a way to grow crops on dryer soils. These types of gardens are characterized by raised beds and a “keyhole” that is used for collecting compost for richer soils. In the context of the sensory garden, this approach also enables children to feel surrounded by greenery. For irrigation, the garden will use clay pitchers called “ollas”, which gradually deliver water to plants without the need for electricity or water pressure.

Italian company WASP partnered on the project to help 3D print the ceramic units using its Clay 3D Printing Farm, which consists of a fleet of WASP 40100 3D printers, capable of printing fluid-dense ceramic materials at a scale of up to one meter in height. For this project, the WASP production farm, capable of running 24/7, made over 600 ceramic units in under two months time. This 3D printer farm was also recently used to create a collection of ceramic tiles for IOUS Studio’s Fusion installation at Salone del Mobile during Milan Design Week. There, WASP also partook in 3D printing multifunctional wall modules using its Crane 3D printer.

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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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