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Case Study

3D Printing Art with FDM®

June 22, 2019

3D Printed Art: Neri Oxman Uses FDM Technology for Latest Installation

Source: Mediated Matter Group

Neri Oxman and the Mediated Matter Group are no strangers to how 3D printing and additive manufacturing can bring an artist’s vision to actuality.

For years, they’ve utilized Stratasys technology for their nature-inspired art installments and projects. In their latest installation Aquahoja I they’ve utilized the technology in new, inspiring ways.


Who Is Neri Oxman?

Oxman is an architect, designer, and professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she leads the Mediated Matter research group.

She is known for 3D printed art and architecture that combines design, biology, computing and materials engineering.

Her team conducts research at the intersection of computational design, digital fabrication, materials science and synthetic biology, and applies that knowledge to design across disciplines, media and scales—from the micro scale to the building scale.

Oxman’s goal is to augment the relationship between built, natural, and biological environments by employing design principles inspired and engineered by nature and implementing them in the invention of novel design technologies.


Mediated Matter & 3D Printing

The Mediated Matter group’s previous visions utilized PolyJet™ and FDM® 3D printing technology. Among their projects was a 3D printed mask entitled “Rottlace” designed and customized for Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk in 2016.

The group utilized multi-material PolyJet technology to 3D print a complex human musculoskeletal system, based on 3D scans of Björk’s own facial structure.


Aguahoja I Inspiration

More recently, Oxman and the Mediated Matter group created Aguahoja I, a pavilion installment featuring a 3D printed structure from Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and utilizing FDM technology.

aguahoja i, 3d printed with FDM technology
aguahoja i, 3d printed with FDM technology
Source: Mediated Matter Group

In the center of the Aguahoja I is a tall, cocoon structure wrapped in leaf-like biocomposite artifacts composed of “the most abundant materials on planet – cellulose, chitosan, and pectin.”

The Mediated Matter group describes the project: “Derived from organic matter, printed by a robot, and shaped by water, Aguahoja points towards a future where the grown and the made unite. It embodies the Material Ecology design approach to material formation and decay by design, as well as the realization of the ancient biblical verse ‘from dust to dust’―from water to water.”


Making Aguahoja I

Stratasys Direct Manufacturing was responsible for the 95 parts of the understructure of Aguahoja I. They utilized FDM technology and ASA material. Stratasys Direct sanded and painted the 3D printed parts before assembling the more than 16 feet tall structure.

“The support from Stratasys to the Aguahoja project offered my team and I the unique capability to design complex shapes that ensure the structure’s geometric stability, while also faithfully upholding the organic integrity that is central to the project’s theme,” Neri Oxman said.

Learn more about the project on the Mediated Matter Group’s website:

Learn more about FDM 3D printing technology and its available materials.

Learn More