Mar 23, 2016 | By Tess

Roughly 2,400 years ago classical Greek philosopher Plato came up with the “theory of Forms”, a belief that suggested that perfect forms, such as the sphere, could not truly exist in the realm of the material, and that our material understandings of such perfect forms were really imperfect copies of the idea of it. To this day, Plato’s “theory of forms” has stood up, though artists and innovative minds the likes of Italian sculptor Dario Santacroce continue to strive towards challenging Plato’s theory of forms by trying to create “a perfect form”. Santacroce seems to have come close to his goal with his recent artistic project called “Spherical Creations” in which he has used 3D modeling and 3D printing technologies to create a series of spherically based sculptures.

The artist, whose work will be exhibited at Galerie Eulenspiegel in Basel, Switzerland from April 7th to May 14th, explains the impetus behind his recent project in a press release: “Much of what has influenced my thinking is Plato’s Theory of Forms in which the philosopher asserts that  flawless master forms can only exist in the realm of thought. Tangible shapes in the physical world are merely the imperfect counterpart to that ideal form. Over the course of a decade I found this theory to be frustratingly correct. My desire to sculpt beautiful and exact geometric forms using what are considered relatively simple shapes proved extremely difficult to execute…And so to achieve my goal and overcome my frustration with achieving perfect, simple forms I, like many artists and designers who have come before me, turned to technology to assist in exacting perfect angles and constant curving surfaces.”

The exact precision and digital accuracy of 3D modeling has allowed Santacroce to explore the shape of the sphere, as well as the shapes created by intersecting spheres, such as the Reuleaux Triangle. His artistic series Spherical Creations, comprises of fifteen sculptures inspired by and based off of intersecting spheres, and what happens when parts of the spheres are taken away.

Santacroce explains, “Computer Assisted Drawing (CAD) software and Additive Manufacturing has allowed me greater accuracy and flexibility throughout all stages of creation while also allowing me to visualize my design with a Theory of Forms degree of perfection - all before the final execution of tangible objects.”

To create the series of sculptures, taking them from the virtual world to their physical incarnations, Santocroce also opted to use 3D printing technologies, though finding a suitable material for his project was a process in itself. Wanting to use a material for his sculptures that would add another level of meaning to his work, Santocroce finally decided to additively manufacture his pieces out of a special sandstone used to make investment cores and master molds to cast metal objects. He explains, “Investment cores strike me as a lovely metaphor to use in tandem with Theory of Forms in that cores are not the final piece in and of themselves as their sole purpose is to facilitate the production of multiples.”

In additively manufacturing the sculptures, layers of the sand material were deposited and bound together with a mineral resin, making for a finished product similar to sandstone itself, but not as strong. Santacroce also additively manufactured his own bespoke tools to sand down and refine the finished sculptures using inverted digital files of the original sculptures.

The end result? A dark, unpolished, and evocative series of sculptures that begs the question whether ideal forms can ever truly be made, even with advanced technology.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


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