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That’s the question posed by architects Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger with their Digital Grotesque project, which is thought to be the world’s first ever 3D printed room designed to echo the complex organic detailing of the Baroque period.
The project began as a commission from FRAC Centre in Orléans, France, for the practice to design and construct a grotto. It developed a software algorithm able to generate a complex form for the grotto that appears simultaneously synthetic and organic. Over the course of one month the design was 3D printed in large chunks, using a combination of sand and a binding agent, then assembled in just one day.
The resulting structure is both disturbing and reminiscent of HR Giger, famous designer of the sets in the movie Alien, while also being evocative of aspects of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. In addition, the structure is very robust with a similar compressive strength to solid sandstone.