Digital Grotesque consists of two human-scale, highly ornamented sandstone grottos designed by architects and programmers Benjamin Dillenburger and Michael Hansmeyer. Grottos I and II are 3.2-meters high, designed with customized algorithms and printed with a 3D sand printing technique. These architectural sculptures were made on commission by Centre Pompidou in Paris for its exhibition Imprimer le monde held in March 2017 and FRAC Centre in Orléans.
Sand printing technology is shifting boundaries with the use of 3D printing in architecture. It overcomes limitations in producing architectural components with 3D printing technology that, until now, has only been used to make relatively small objects. Although these sandstones blocks are strong enough to fulfill construction requirements, Benjamin and Michael mixed it with resin in order to further harden it by closing its pores.The computational design allowed architects to render tiniest details into reality and to create a complex and breathtaking surface of artificial sandstone bricks. Aediculaes, which forms the grottos, are rich in details and evoke floral and geometrical forms. Complex geometries are formed with customized algorithms, altering parameters for divisions and subdivisions on the surface which results with 260 million individual facets generated through.The Digital Grotesque project is not the only one that proves the immense impact that the 3D printing technology has had on architecture. There are other projects which explore opportunities of 3D printing technology, like ProtoHouse 1.0 and ProtoHouse 2.0 by Softkill Design, a UK group of architects or Landscape House by Dutch studio Universe Architecture.