This week’s selection is “Neri Oxman Material Ecology” by Paola Antonelli, Anna Burckhardt, Hadas A. Steiner, and of course, Neri Oxman.
Ms. Oxman is one of the most famous designers using 3D printing, and one that we’ve featured many times in our pages. The reason for her frequent appearances is the work she’s done at the MIT Media lab on an approach she calls “Material Ecology”, which also happens to be the title of this book.
Material Ecology is the intersection of biology and fabrication, where natural patterns, mathematics and 3D printing can be combined to form the most astounding artistic and functional shapes. At MIT this process was developed to the point where it was used for the production of many startling works.
Material Ecology was supercharged by 3D printing technology, which allows one to make virtually any conceivable geometry, even the massively complex designs produced through Material Ecology.
Some years ago I recall visiting the Centre Pompidou in Paris to see one of her exhibitions. At that time the notion of full color 3D printing was basically science fiction, yet her prints were not only of mind-bending complexity, but also with colors, and even color gradients. For a short time it was a bit of a mystery as to how she had produced these colorful 3D prints, but it eventually was revealed she and team had used then-unannounced Stratasys PolyJet technology, which later became a powerful full color 3D printing option.
I have met Ms. Oxman exactly once, and it was quite an experience. When she speaks it is as if you are speaking to someone from the distant future. Her thoughts are often so far advanced over today’s conventional design wisdom it takes some effort to grasp the concepts. But if you do, you are taken on a journey to the year 2153.
This book is a compilation of images, diagrams and text of the Material Ecology process and results. The pages are plastered with colorful images of many of Oxman’s projects, many of which are pioneering design efforts that push the envelope of 3D printing beyond anything thought possible.
If there ever was a coffee table book for 3D printing, this would be that book.
If you want to truly see the incredible potential of 3D printing, this is the book that can show it to you.
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