Aug 22, 2017 | By Tess

L+S, an artist duo from Germany and Noway, have created a four-meter-tall tree sculpture to commemorate Noway’s most eco-friendly nursing home, Ullerntunet. The large-scale sculpture, which is made from bronze, was made using 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies.

Over recent years, the Ullerntunet nursing home has undergone many changes, and is now recognized as being the most energy-efficient center of its kind in Norway. Aside from its environmental merits, the facility is known best for housing and treating people who suffer from dementia.

When L+S artists Lutz-Rainer Müller and Stian Ådlandsvik were approached by the center to create an artwork for Ullerntunet, they used the center’s purpose and eco-friendliness as inspiration.

Artists Lutz-Rainer Müller and Stian Ådlandsvik of L+S

Their idea was to create a large-scale sculpture based on a tree located on the nursing home’s grounds which would stand statically (like a memory) next to the still living and ever-changing tree. “It plays with the idea of memory,” reads a blog post about the project. “Our memories remain static and frozen in time, which is contrasted by growth and ongoing life.”

The artists set to work by first 3D scanning the real life tree. With the 3D scan captured, they then adjusted the model to fit their aesthetic vision, which consisted of cutting the tree in half vertically. This was done to give the artificial tree “a feeling of incompleteness like a dream of a memory.”

Small-scale model of the 3D printed tree sculpture

Next, L+S had to confront how best to transform their 3D model into a full-size bronze sculpture. Realizing that 3D printing would probably be the fastest and most cost-efficient route to take (especially compared to traditional lost-wax casting), the artists reached out to 3D printing specialists at Materialise.

Materialise, for its part, suggested using its novel TetraShell process, which is inspired by traditional lost wax casting but effectively eliminates a number of steps from the process, reducing costs and production time. Working in collaboration with Thomas Sijen from the Sijen Art Studio foundry, L+S and Materialise determined that TetraShell 3D printing was the best course of action.

TetraShell model of tree printed using Stereolithography

“We had a test part and the results were really good,” said Sijen. “By using TetraShell you can skip a few parts of your normal process because you have a product that is printed instead of having a product that you would do the traditional way by making a mold and wax model, so that saves a lot of time and money.”

TetraShell is a software developed by DSM which enables users to transform their solid 3D models into 3D printable objects that have a “thin outer layer and a hollow interior supported by a tetrahedron structure.”

The technology is paired with Stereolithography printing, which in the case of L+S’s sculpture was used to print several sections of the tree. Specifically, Materialise used its Mammoth Stereolithography 3D printing machines, which are capable of printing parts as long as two meters.

Once printed, the sections of the tree sculpture were manually inspected and post-processed to ensure they were of top quality. Once this was confirmed, the pieces were sent to the foundry, where a plaster mold was made by “casting composite materials around the 3D printed parts.”

Molten bronze was then poured into the plaster mold, which when cooled was removed from the plaster by chipping the latter away. According to Materialise, the TetraShell method makes it easier to create the plaster mold because the more lightweight 3D printed part reduces the risk of thermal expansion (which can affect the mold), and is easier to burn out.

Since its production, the bronze tree sculpture has been installed next to its living counterpart, where residents of the Ullerntunet nursing home in Oslo can admire its beauty and contemplate its bare branches.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


orest wrote at 8/24/2017 10:35:24 AM:

It is beautiful but somewhat depressing.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive