3D printing's 'incomprehensible' beauty on display in Toronto

A 3D printing exhibition in Toronto is showcasing the beautiful and innovative work created by the world's top 3D designers.

3DXL: A Large-Scale 3D Printing Exhibition runs until Aug. 16

A 3D printing exhibition in Toronto is showcasing the beautiful and innovative work created by the world's top 3D designers.

Presented by Canada's Design Exchange, the 3DXL: A Large-Scale 3D Printing Exhibition is the first of its kind in the country.

Visitors are invited to get a close view of intricate and never-before-seen creations demonstrating the art and beauty of the technology.

"Up until now, 3D printing has been almost behind a veil and has been a mystery to many people," says Design Exchange president Shauna Levy. 

3DXL: Lifting the veil off the art of 3D printing

7 years ago
Duration 1:45
Design Exchange CEO Shauna Levy describes a new large-scale 3D printing exhibition on in Toronto until Aug. 16.
Although 3D printing has been used over the past three decades, Levy says it's become mainstream in the last several years. 

"It's a technology that's affecting our daily lives and will affect our daily lives in the future," says Levy.

The influence of 3D technology is being felt today in a wide range of areas, from the automotive industry, where 3D-printed cars are being designed, to fashion, where designers are experimenting with 3D garment printing.

The technology also has applications for medicine, with advances in prosthetic devices and the printing of tissues and organs. 

"We all think about how we live, how is 3D printing impacting that?" says Levy.

The exhibit is housed in a 3,500-square-foot glass box at the corner of King Street and Blue Jays Way and features the work of designers from around the globe who are pushing boundaries in architecture, art and 3D printing on a large scale.

The detail in the Arabesque Wall is so intricate it pushes the threshold of human perception. (Benjamin Dillenburger and Michael Hansmeyer)
The most eye-catching exhibit is a structure created by Swiss designers Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger, titled the Arabesque Wall, which Levy described as "incomprehensible" in its design.

Printed in sandstone, the wall is the first piece of architectural design that uses the resolution of micrometres — that's one millionth of a metre.

"It almost looks like it could be a body part, it could be an organ, it could be baroque," said Levy. "And it's a really interesting alternative way to presenting 3D printing."

The Saltygloo is a modern take on an igloo and the first structure to be printed out of locally harvested salt. It takes inspiration from the Inuit igloo and the use of salt blocks in Middle Eastern architecture.

The Saltygloo, by 3D-printing startup Emerging Objects, is the first structure to be created with locally harvested sea salt. (Emerging Objects)
One of the more practical applications on display is a building block from a full-sized 3D-printed house under construction in Amsterdam.

The 3D Print Canal House is being constructed by a large-scale printer erected in the heart of the city.

Also operating on site is a robotic arm printing life-sized chairs that will be used for an art installation at the exhibit. Each chair takes 11 hours to complete. 

The exhibit runs until Aug. 16 in Toronto. 

Highlights of the exhibition can be seen in the photo gallery above.


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