Monday, December 17, 2007

Out of the Resin

This is another company doing work that just completely blew my mind when I first saw it and learned what it was all about.  They're Materialise from Leuven, Belgium.

Materialise is using this technology where they have a pan filled with liquid polymer resin. A computer modeling program tells a laser how to swipe across the surface of the pool of resin. The laser congeals the resin in layers, and seals it to the layer below it. Then the object very precisely moves down like a millimeter and the laser makes the next pass.

They also have a process (I believe what was used for that piece there), that uses a pan full of powdered resin instead, but otherwise the process is the same.

What this means is that they can create an object of any conceivable shape. And they're not messing around. The crazy, cyber geometries these people are coming up with are just insane.

When I saw this one, I thought my head was going to explode:

This is also completely insane:

But it doesn't stop there. Get this: the guy was telling me that their belief is that material objects in this world are degradable and fleeting. Information, on the other hand, is ageless. So when you buy a light fixture from them, for instance, they give you a CD with the computer rendering and the laser map to create it again, the idea being that the piece could always be recreated.  Even if there was a nuclear holocaust or the world exploded, the piece would still exist as information.

I'm not sure, but I think because this is one continuous piece of resin going inside itself, that there's really no other way a shape like this could be manufactured:
I mean, if it were made out of glass, for instance, it would need to be two pieces of glass fused together, wouldn't it?


I'm sorry, but this is just completely out of control:

That is so totally some alien city in outer space.

This is also pretty cool:

I was asking the guy how large of an object could be produced using this laser resin technology, and he explained that they actually started out making life-size prototypes of car bodies for the auto industry. I'm like "Oh, wow, that's huge!" but he pointed out that of course they do it in individual panels. But anyway, they can also get these really fluid, almost organic shapes out of it, too, if they want. 

This one's called "Bunny":

See the shape of the top of it? In'at cute? But then, it ends up looking almost like billowing fabric at the same time.

I also really liked how at times, they're able to employ these really complex, perfect geometries, but yet create something that looks so natural and organic:
Extremely elegant.

This one of course isn't so much about the fabrication technique:
But I thought that was so brilliant. It's called "RGB" so it's actually three different colored lights, and since they all point in the same direction, they combine to make pure white...with a little of each spilling out the sides. Really gorgeous. All about technology, but also the nature of optics and color theory.

They're also doing amazing things with furniture:

This is especially incredible:

It's like the ghost of a chair fading off into the netherworld.

Materialise, Belgium

©2006, Ryan Witte


David said...

thank you, the ghostly chair was what grabbed me, but yeah, those lights are really a trip. it's nice to see these pictures, and I enjoyed finding your blog while looking for something else.
What I am left with is the idea that all the good stuff wasn't made in the past. I'm sure that is obvious to people like you that are up on contemporary architecture, but most of the new things I see are poor mimics of earlier styles.

Ryan Witte said...

My pleasure, thanks for your comment.

I don't think it's what you were saying, but I've ranted elsewhere about how much of a cop-out I consider "there is nothing new, anymore" to be. I also consider it entirely untrue, and the main reason is Technology. New technologies give rise to new problems, new solutions, and new forms and always have. There are countless examples.

Of course it's important to appreciate the past, but I enjoy being excited by what's happening in my own lifetime, also.