old myths meet new technology in 3D printed concrete sculpture by innsbruck university


Author: Guido Pallano

Date: 07/27/2020

the institute of architecture theory from innsbruck university, in partnership with company concr3ede, have introduced ‘hypnerotomachia naturae’, a sculpture installation made of 3D printed concrete. the project has been presented as a part of the exhibition ‘schönheit vor weisheit. das wissen der kunst und die kunst der wissenschaft’ (‘beauty before wisdom. the knowledge of art and the art of science’) at the landes museum in innsbruck, austria.

all images by bart lootsma

the innovative sculpture has been designed by stefan maier and giacomo pala, under the supervision of bart lootsma from the institute of architecture theory from innsbruck university. it is an allegorical composition created to accommodate a research cluster on the topic of nature and architecture. the material, realized by concr3de’s innovative 3D printing system is realized thanks to the possibility of creating highly performative cementitious material systems.

‘hypnerotomachia naturae’ consists of a stacking of 3d printed blocks, each one different, and yet all connected to the another. each piece, made of concrete powder, is a singular unit that, interconnected with the others, generate a narrative system. the result is a fragmented body: a continuity of discreet pieces, yet interconnected in a continuous whole. it is a collage-like piece that toys with new technologies and old myths, as well as with pop and high-culture, in order to generate meanings through associations.


3D printers on controversial in the art world. I think if you were to poll the public right now, they would express a far greater respect for works manifested by hand than for those made by machines. However, there is a growing camp that insists on the technology as just another tool in the maker’s arsenal. It is true, also, that art is not just about the making, but also the conceiving, which 3D printers are not (yet) doing. At any rate, this art piece served as a reminder that not everything made by a large-scale 3D printer has to be abstract or functional– it can also be representational. If the context calls for it, we can absolutely leverage the machine to produce things that…look like other things. Not everything has to be new, organic, blobby, etc. 3D printers shatter the limitation of designing planar forms, but I think people often forget to take advantage of the nuance, detail, and even replication of form that can be achieved efficiently and precisely.

Source: https://www.designboom.com/art/old-myths-new-technologies-3d-printed-concrete-sculpture-innsbruck-university-07-27-2020/