Apr 30, 2017 | By Julia

Wrapping up earlier this month, this year’s Milan Design Week placed 3D printing front and centre. While several pieces on display incorporated 3D printing technology, the work everyone’s talking about is by avant-garde designer and 3D printing pioneer Neri Oxman.

‘YET’ is the title of Oxman’s surreal horseshoe-shaped Lexus installation, which combines 3D printed glass with architectural light patterns to create an immersive pavilion unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Commissioned by Lexus, YET served as an opening installation to welcome and entice exhibition visitors from all over the world, and more pointedly, to set the stage for the highly anticipated Lexus Design Award 2017.

An architect, designer, and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) famed Media Lab, Oxman created the dazzling pavilion with her team, The Mediated Matter Group.

“We attempted to explore the theme of YET in different ways, through the lens of light, the lens of glass and the lens of the experience,” Oxman told press. “Some of you will respond intellectually, others will respond emotionally.”

Housed within the customized space of La Triennale Di Milano, the installation effectively combines state-of-the-art 3D printing technology with “old” materials like glass. Specifically, the illuminated columns make use of MIT’s specialized technique of layering molten glass, a tricky endeavor which, when successful, perceptibly transforms the material’s optical qualities.

YET also stands as a compelling ode to Lexus, reflecting the luxury car manufacturer’s ethos of brave design and ‘takumi’ craftsmanship. An additional installation, paired with Oxman’s creation, suggestively reveals the Lexus UX Concept car through a series of intricate light projections, which combine for a fraction of the second to briefly glimpse the car.

But as Oxman describes in a recent interview, YET was inspired by a lot more than a car sponsorship. Specifically, the MIT professor was keen to practice “formalism with a moral compass.”

In other words, Oxman says she was motivated by environmental responsibility. “In the United States alone, 450 billion square feet of glass façade [are] produced every year,” Oxman explains.

“What if we could take this chance to use the glass to harness solar energy and allow the architecture to respond to the light and heat of the sun, to create photosynthesis and generate solar energy? What if we could create an architecture that responds to that, that could control the heat of the building or even that of a whole city?”

As an architect and a designer, Oxman feels a responsibility to ask how technology can contribute something of value to the world, and do more than just create a beautiful luxury item. As evidenced by the bewildering glass textures of YET, 3D printing can figure strongly in this arena.

“That’s my moral compass,” Oxman says.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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