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Ceramic Walkway Showcases the Stunning Possibilities of 3D

Jan 09, 2024

In the world of 3D-printed architecture, functionality often takes precedence over aesthetics. However, Studio RAP challenges this notion with their groundbreaking project, New Delft Blue. By utilizing a clay-based mixture and the power of 3D printing technology, they have created a visually captivating ceramic-lined passageway that adds a touch of beauty to the urban landscape.

Situated in the vibrant city of Delft in the Netherlands, New Delft Blue was designed to bring life to a recently completed housing project. Drawing inspiration from the iconic Royal Delft Blue porcelain, the design incorporates nature-inspired patterns that create an exquisite interplay of peaks and valleys, showcasing subtly different shades of blue.

Measuring an impressive 8 meters in height, 4 meters in width, and 12 meters in depth, the passageway features an astounding 3,000 unique tiles. Studio RAP employed an industrial robotic arm equipped with a custom extruder to carefully layer the clay mixture according to a predefined pattern. Each tile, measuring approximately 30 x 40 x 7 cm, took just 15 minutes to manufacture. Once finished, they were meticulously glazed and fired to achieve a stunning ceramic finish before being transported and installed at the site.

Studio RAP explains the innovation behind this project, stating, “The 3,000 unique ceramic tiles that adorn the passageway were 3D printed, allowing for the creation of contemporary ceramics that are rich and one-of-a-kind. By utilizing an algorithmic approach to 3D pattern design, the tiles were precisely generated while taking into account manufacturing constraints such as maximum overhang, width, height, depth, shrinkage, and internal support structure.”

What sets this project apart is the ability to paint with shapes. As the tiles were 3D printed, Studio RAP was able to incorporate variations into their shapes, resulting in a poetic visual experience. By applying a transparent blue runny glaze, the convex portions of the tiles (the peaks) exhibit a light blue hue, while the concave areas (the valleys) create deep blue glaze pools. This technique allows for seamless transitions between different shades of blue, further enhancing the breathtaking aesthetic.

New Delft Blue showcases the immense potential of 3D-printed architecture to create not only functional spaces but also visually stunning works of art. With its innovative use of materials and meticulous attention to detail, Studio RAP has transformed a simple passageway into a mesmerizing piece of architectural brilliance.