Jul 8, 2017 | By Tess

Every year, spring comes around, melting the snow and bringing in budding trees and flowers. Of course, with the flowery change in landscape comes a less idyllic reality: hay fever. Yep. Most people will understand the bittersweetness that comes with Spring’s arrival; looking upon lovely flowers, only having to do so through red and itchy eyes.

Still, there are some that don’t see pollen as a reason to tremble in their boots, and have actually drawn inspiration from it for a remarkable project. Namely, a team from the Zurich University of the Arts in Switzerland has created a stunning set of 3D printed lamps that are based on actual pollen particles.

The team, consisting of art director Regine Cavocchioli as well as students Roman Jurt and Michael Kennedy, based its 3D printed designs on images of various pollen particles taken from under a microscope. The colorful collection includes a ragweed pollen lamp, ash pollen, birch pollen, sunflower pollen, dandelion pollen, and grass pollen.

Besides the educational factor of seeing in large-scale what is causing you so much nasal discomfort, the 3D printed lamps each bear a unique style and are, quite frankly, beautiful to look at. The sunflower pollen (aka Helianthus) lamp is distinguished by its rounded shape and spiked surface, while the ash pollen (Fraxinus) has a more organic, almost brain-like texture. My personal favorite, birch pollen (Betula), looks like a sort of ethereal globular organism.

The process of making the pollen lamps consisted of first designing 3D models of each particle, which Jurt and Kennedy accomplished by closely observing 2D microscope images of the pollen. Once the 3D models were ready, the team set about 3D printing each structure using selective laser sintering (also known as SLS).

More than just showing off the aesthetic qualities of pollen (and how great they can look in your home!), the design students were trying to raise awareness about how common allergies such as hay fever work. “Our design project aims on raising awareness on these issues by making pollen visible for the first time: the pollen lamps,” reads the project’s website.

Interestingly, the entire pollen lamp project was supported by Sanofi, a French multinational pharmaceutical company known for its allergy medication.

If you’re interested in buying one of the stunning (and non-sneezy) pollen lamps, most models are available for purchase through 3D printing service Shapeways. The lamps are admittedly expensive (ranging between $437 and $1,366), which is usually the case for design objects.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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