Fluxaxis logo

3D Printing at Milan Design Week

This week is Milan Design Week. Perhaps not your first port of call for anything 3D printing related, but you might be surprised how much the art, design and architecture worlds embrace the latest technologies. In fact, the creative world seems to pick up new technologies and run with them in wildly unexpected directions.

This year at Milan, two projects have caught our eye. One delicate and modular, one tiny and fun. Both, though, with an unexpected (and timely) environmental edge.

French architect, Arthur Mamou-Mani actually developed a new 3D printing filament for his project, Conifera, in partnership with clothing brand COS. Part sculpture, part pavilion (see above), this series of interlocking, stackable pyramids uses a PLA (polylactic acid) made from starch vinegar and glycerine, mixed with the pulp from Douglas fir trees. There are 700 of these bioplastic modules, all used to create a 30m long, soft, flowing installation that winds its way through a Milanese palazzo.

"Technology alone doesn't really matter, it's what you do with it, and to me it's only interesting if we are helping the planet." Mamou-Mani told Dezeen magazine.

To us, it seems a wonderful demonstration of how creativity and technology push each other forwards. A symbiosis of innovation. There’s a rather beautiful video of the installationhere.You can read more about Conifera in Wallpaper magazine, here.

The second project that sparked our interest at Milan 2019 is on a somewhat smaller scale: ‘Lesser Houses’ from designer Angelo Renna. These tiny 3D printed habitats have been designed with each house-dwelling insect’s shape and natural habitat in mind. Spotting spiders, ladybirds (or ladybugs), ants or moths in your living room might have you reaching for a rolled-up newspaper or perhaps the much kinder up-turned glass and envelope, but Angelo Renna wants us to think again. Why try to eradicate this thriving biodiversity (apparently, there are about a hundred different species of bugs that inhabit our homes) when we can provide them with a purpose-printed place of refuge instead? The ‘thousand legs house’ is our favourite. But decide for yourself by having a look at the DesignBoom feature, here.

The designer even intends to make the 3D model of each house available on Thingiverse. Fun, kind and we love the bright yellow.

Milan Design Week

Milan Design Week 2018

Last year, Milan Design Week proved interesting from a 3D printing perspective too. In case you missed it, 2018 saw Arup and CLS Architetti’s concrete house collaboration, 3D Housing 05 win the Best Sustainability prize. 3D printing with concrete has been in the news quite a bit over the last few years. This project differed in that it presented a single story 100 square metre house that was printed in just 48 hours but then finished to an exceptionally high standard – complete with a hand-carved marble bath. It was Milan Design Week, after all.

Milan Design Week

Also featuring in 2018 were these futuristic chairs, 3D printed in tinted PLA. Designed by Zaha Hadid for Spanish furniture brand Nagami, they sparked a lot of interest chez Fluxaxis, especially with one of our team having worked on a ZHA project a few years back. Photos were admired, tints and methods discussed!

Milan Design Week

When we set up Fluxaxis just two years ago, we never thought creative projects would feature so prominently in our work, but actually, it makes a lot of sense. We need artists, designers, architects and sculptors to take our technology and explore the unexpected. It enriches the diversity of our projects and in doing so makes sure we keep learning and growing. It also makes our work and lives more colourful, thought-provoking and fun.

Milan Design Week runs from Tuesday 8th to Sunday 14th April 2019.

If you have a project you think we can help with, please get in touch!