Stacked sections of intricate 3D-printed columns of the most baroque nature imaginable make up a cube-shaped, full-scale room. Designers Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger made ‘Digital Grotesque‘ out of eleven tons of sandstone, its outside smooth and flat, with an impossibly ornamented interior. It measures 16 square meters, and has 260 million surfaces.
These complex, interwoven details and the ways in which the various layers of them join together wouldn’t be possible to craft by hand. Many elements look fractal in nature, repeating endlessly. One side is mirrored by the other in perfect symmetry. The architectural scale, for the designer, has been reduced from bricks to grains of sand.
This scale and detail is made possible by a new sand-printing technology that overcomes some of the limitations of 3D printing, enabling large-scale elements that can be layered into a whole. “The design process thus strikes a delicate balance between the expected and the unexpected, between control and relinquishment,” write the design team. “The algorithms are deterministic as they do not incorporate randomness, but the results are not necessarily entirely foreseeable. Instead, they have the power to surprise.”
“Digital Grotesque is between chaos and order, both natural and the artificial, neither foreign nor familiar. Any references to nature or existing styles are not integrated into the design process, but are evoked only as associations in the eye of the beholder.”