Since its founding in 2017, Dutch company Aectual has taken the tenets of 3D printing—including customization, design freedom and sustainability—to heart, applying them to the areas of architecture and interior design. Many of our readers will be familiar with the company: in 2018, it gained notice for 3D printing a section of terrazzo-style flooring in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Just a few months ago, it also unveiled a collection of 3D printed fully-circular furniture made from plant-based materials.
Now, the Amsterdam-based firm is updating its business model with the global beta launch of its design-to-delivery platform and commercial web shop for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) market. The newly launched platform enables customers to access and order Aectual’s 3D printed interior design and architectural products, including its stylish terrazzo flooring, as well as fixtures, wall paneling, columns, façades, stairs, room dividers, planters and table screens. The company adds that it even has the capacity to print entire buildings.
At the foundation of Aectual’s work is its mission to provide sustainable options for interior design and architecture. All of its products are printed from “100% circular” materials that are recycled and renewable, and the company says its design-to-delivery process also reduces waste, material usage and CO2 emissions by reclaiming the materials from end-of-life products and transforming them into new products. The custom design platform is also reportedly more cost efficient than other custom-made architectural products (up to 50% cheaper) and can deliver products up to 10 times faster.
Hedwig Heinsman, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Aectual, commented on the beta launch and the company’s mission: “Aectual addresses a serious global challenge: the construction sector accounts for 39% of all global carbon emissions and is one of the largest polluting industries in the world. Aectual’s turnkey platform enables AEC professionals and consumers to create beautiful, customized XL 3D printed buildings, architectural and interior design products from 100% recyclable, renewable materials that minimize waste and don’t harm the planet.
“We enable world-class architects, designers and brands to realize their own bespoke designs on demand, at any scale and in any building, and to create truly unique, 100% sustainable products without being slowed down by extensive prototyping and long lead times.”
So what does this new beta offering consist of exactly? Aectual’s new platform is driven by its proprietary robotic XL 3D printing technology, which is itself based on ABB IRC5 controllers and Siemens Industrial PLCs. These are connected to Aectual’s extrusion technology, which can be mounted directly onto its robot arm. The solution also integrates a user-friendly design dashboard and a selection of customizable engineered parametric products. From the user perspective, AEC professionals can now either upload and create their own custom designs or select from Aectual’s customizable catalogue. Aectual’s technology also digitally links architectural design parameters with engineering constraints, so that 3D printed designs are verified and viable. Finally, when an order is placed, the company 3D prints the product and takes care of installation.
Though based in the Netherlands, Aectual’s offering is available globally. This is thanks to a broad network of partners, including materials company Henkel, robotics expert ABB and engineering firm Arup. The Aectual 3D printed XL architectural platform currently features 12 products across seven categories, and each product can be customized. The categories are:
- Flooring: which includes the signature terrazzo pattern
- Furniture: comprising curtains and bookcases
- Façade Cladding and Wall Paneling
- Outdoor features: such as sun screens and canopies
- Concrete Elements: including stairs, pavement and façade cladding
- Interior Design: such as planters, room dividers and table screens
As of this week, AEC professionals can sign up for the Aectual enterprise beta version, and choose from a variety of architectural features and interior products.