3D Printing ProcessesArtDesignProduct LaunchVolumetric 3D Printing

Vespers 3D printed death mask collection by Neri Oxman unveiled at London’s Design Museum

Stratasys launched ‘The New Ancient’ 3D printed art and design collection, which includes Vespers’ a new series of exploratory 3D printed death masks, designed by Neri Oxman and her team. The collections were unveiled at the public at the grand reopening of London’s Design Museum. Oxman combines design and computation to produce the masks which, in a landmark breakthrough, emulate the resolution and complexity that is usually only found in nature.

VespersNaomi Kaempfer, Creative Director of Art Fashion Design at Stratasys, explains: “The New Ancient collection marries ancient crafts and designs of past civilizations with advanced technologies to reimagine design in and of the modern world. Oxman, along with her team, is amongst a number of leading designers who have contributed to the creation of the collection, including Zaha Hadid, Nick Ervinck and Daniel Widrig. Oxman’s Vespers epitomize this theme, traversing between modern, cutting-edge technologies and historical crafts and artefacts.”

Oxman, along with her team members – Christoph Bader, Dominik Kolb, Rachel Smith, and Sunanda Sharma of the Mediated Matter Group – led the creation of Vespers. Comprising 15 masks in three sub-series, Vespers portrays the past, present and future, and explores the themes of past worlds and future technologies. “Made of a single material, such as wax or plaster, the death mask has historically originated as a means of capturing a person’s visage, keeping the deceased ‘alive’ through memory,” explains Oxman. “Vespers’ death masks, however, are designed to reveal cultural heritage and speculate about the perpetuation of life, both cultural and biological.”

“Vespers’ designs are entirely data driven, digitally generated, 3D printed, and – at times – biologically augmented,” Oxman continues. “By pushing the boundaries of cusp technologies – such as high-resolution material modelling, full color multi-material 3D printing, and synthetic biology – they express the death mask’s deeper meanings and possible future use, thus bringing it back to life.”

VespersSub-series one of the Vespers collection, entitled ‘Past’, looks at historic origins, exploring life through the lens of death. Inspired by ancient masks, this sub-series utilizes five material combinations to emulate colors commonly found in cultural artefacts across regions and eras, with impressive accuracy. With the implementation of Stratasys’ unique full-color and transparency multi-material 3D printing technology, Oxman’s team has created 3D printed objects that, for the first time in history, match the variety and nuance of ancient crafts.

The second sub-series, ‘Present’, explores the transition between life and death, reflecting the progression of the death mask from a symbolic cultural relic in the first sub-series to a functional biological interface in the third. Visually, the surface colorations and geometries seen in the first sub-series are transformed into volumetric material distributions housed within transparent, smoothly curved dome-like structures in the second.

Rebirth is embodied in the third sub-series of masks, called ‘Future’. Perhaps the most ground-breaking of the trilogy, the final sub-series engages with synthetic biology to explore whether the death mask can drive the formation of new life, repositioning the objects as habitats capable of interfacing with living microorganisms. Devoid of cultural expressions and nearly colorless, the final five masks ‘re-engineer’ life by guiding living microorganisms through minute spatial features of the artefacts.

“The Vespers masks were photographed by Belgian photographer, Danielle van Zadelhoff, whose particular photography style characteristic of Chiaroscuro is reminiscent of Caravaggio and Rembrandt – resonating with the theme of timelessness as portrayed throughout the series,” explains Kaempfer.

Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as both a technology journalist and communications consultant. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he received his undergraduate degree from SUNY Stony Brook. He is a senior analyst for US-based firm SmarTech Publishing focusing on the additive manufacturing industry. He founded London-based 3D Printing Business Media Ltd. (now 3dpbm) which specializes in marketing, editorial and market analysys&consultancy services for the additive manufacturing industry. 3dpbm publishes 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies related to 3DP, as well as several editorial websites, including 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore.

Related Articles

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • PHPSESSID
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services
Close
Close