Michael Hansmeyer
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Digital Grotesque II (2017)
with Benjamin Dillenburger

Digital Grotesque II - a full-scale 3D printed grotto - has premiered at Centre Pompidou’s 'Imprimer le monde' exhibition. This highly ornamental grotto is entirely designed by algorithm and materialized out of 7 tons of printed sandstone. It heralds a highly immersive architecture with a hitherto unseen richness of detail.

The angles and perspectives by which the spectator can observe the grotto were simulated during the design process, and the form was then optimized to present highly differentiated and diverse geometries that forge a rich and stimulating spatial experience for the observer.

A subdivision algorithm was devised to exploit the 3D printer’s full potential by creating topologically complex, porous, multi-layered structures with spatial depth. A single volume spawns millions of branches, growing and folding again and again. Hundreds of square meters are compressed into a 3.5m high block that forms an organic landscape between the man-made and the natural.

Digital Grotesque II is a testament to and celebration of a new kind of architecture that leaves behind traditional paradigms of rationalization and standardization and instead emphasizes the viewer's perception, evoking curiosity and bewilderment.