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.
“Wood in process” is a design experiment of a Dutch collective of designers called Envisions. They find ways to transform materials and offer new design solutions. The motto of the group is that experimentation leads to innovation. Their research was presented last year at Milan’s week of design which focused on presenting design discoveries rather than on finished designs. It has been realized thanks to the cooperation with the Spanish firm, Finsa which produces wood-replacement materials, medium density fibreboard (MDF) and chipboards.The collective, composed of design students from the Design Academy in Eindhoven, note: “Although it functions only as a rich conceptual field, the preliminary stage of production of products has unlimited possibilities and deserves all the attention”. The collective examines the possibilities of the artistic product, which is underestimated and rarely explored in the industry. Each of the 12 members of the collective was invited to visit Finsa’s factories to find potential new uses for their various materials, as well as materials produced during production. Presented materials were photographed and used by Walt Disney for making animation.The main idea of the Envisions group is that team work is ahead of the individual. They want to expand and create better communication between designers, clients and manufacturers; which they do with their presentations and exhibitions.
Predating the Pyramids at Giza in Egypt by about 1000 years and Britain’s Stonehenge by a similar period, the temple at Hagar Qim, along with its sister temples on the tiny island of Malta, is widely considered the oldest stone structure standing anywhere in the world. And like the Gizan Pyramids and Stonehenge, Hagar Qim is a place of almost unimaginable and incomprehensible early human craftsmanship and engineering prowess. Deliberately positioned on a hilltop vantage point overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the main 5,500 year old megalithic temple dates back to between 3600 and 3200 BCE, although an earlier ruined temple to the north of the site is significantly older. Translating from the Maltese as ‘standing stones’ or ‘worshiping stones’, the structure also contains artistic treasures that have changed the way archaeologists look at this period of our shared history within its C-shaped rooms.A retaining wall of huge slabs of local limestone more than 10 feet high encloses the rooms, accessed through a paved entrance way of equally massive stones. So large are they, in fact, that a seventeenth-century investigation of the structure determined that it must have been built and inhabited by a population of giants. The facade contains the largest stone used in any of Malta’s megalithic temples, with an estimated weight of 57 tons, while a slender ‘menhir’ standing stone soars over the complex with a height of 17 feet.Large and beautifully carved spheres of stone, perhaps used as rollers, dot the site. Structural stones around altar spaces are decorated with crisp spiral designs and marked with regular drilled dots that give the impression of a leopard’s markings. The altars themselves suggest animal sacrifices due to their concave shape.Several finely-carved statues of the female figure (now housed in the National Museum of Archaeology in the capital just a few miles away) including one called the ‘Venus of Malta’ or the ‘Fat Lady’ also suggest a link to the cult of Venus that spread across Europe during the period.