May 30, 2017 | By Benedict

Dutch artist Jip de Beer is using 3D printing to create 3D printed visual models of web pages. His project, titled Web Spaces, consists of metal-plated 3D printed models that represent the hierarchy of 10 popular website home pages, including those of Google and Facebook.

What does the structure of a web page look like? Not the friendly home page aesthetic chosen by a team of designers, but the data-filled underbelly of a page, the “hierarchy” of its many elements and how they connect—is it round? square? triangular?

Jip de Beer, a visual artist based in Grongingen in the Netherlands, has a unique take on this question.

The artist, who has a keen interest in web page hierarchies, has created a series of 3D printed models that purportedly represent the structures of the 10 most valuable website home pages, including those of Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia.

They might not look particularly familiar, but de Beer’s models are automatically generated from data sourced from these websites.

“Web Spaces is an ongoing investigation into the structure of web pages,” de Beer says. “How can three dimensional beings, like you and me, explore the virtual landscape of web pages? By rendering the building blocks of a web page in three dimensions, the architecture beneath its surface is revealed.”

It’s not entirely clear what the shapes of each 3D printed model represent, and de Beer isn’t particularly keen to spell it out it either, but the 3D printed structures, the more “valuable” of which have been plated with gold or other precious metals, certainly look cool.

De Beer says he created his Web Spaces series with a “custom-built program, trying out different parameters.” Some 3D printed models, however, had to be modified slightly to “maintain the integrity of the overall structure.”

This modification involved thickening parts that would otherwise have broken during or after 3D printing, or inserting a support pillar underneath overhanging elements. “The end result was a physical object inspired by the architecture of a web page,” de Beer explains.

Interested in getting your hands on a 3D printed representation of a website home page? The Top 10 Web Spaces models are available for sale on Jip’s Shapeways shop.

Though their subject matters differ slightly, de Beer’s project reminded me of Majestic’s attempt to 3D print the internet in space. As part of a joint project with Made In Space, British search engine company Majestic created a 3D model that purportedly represents the internet, based on data for individual web pages such as website backlinks, trust flow, and citation flow.

The work of both Majestic and de Beer leans toward the more abstract side of 3D printing, though the end results in both cases are certainly visually impressive.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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