3D Printing Sparks Innovations in Art – MGX by Materialise at Inside 3D Printing Chicago

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MGX Mammoth Stereolithography 3D Printing

MGX by Materialise Leads the Charge in 3D Printing and Artist Collaboration

At the Inside 3D Printing conference in ChicagoJoris Debo talked about a brave new art world pioneered by Materialise with their Mammoth Stereolithography 3D printing technology. Materialise is a Belgian based company that is involved in additive manufacturing (3D printing) in many industries like software development, rapid fit (automotive & aerospace), biomedical (CT & MRI scans) & orthodics among others. Debo is the Creative Director at MGX, which is the consumer goods division for Materialise and he is especially passionate about using 3D printing technology to “create objects that are both art and functional.”

MGX has become a company that closely works together with artists to come up with new pieces that would be very difficult and extremely labor intensive to make without 3D technology.  Joris noted, “When I arrived in the company eight years ago, there were two people that were not engineers. Over the years, we’ve commissioned people, like Patrick Jouin, for a new era of digital aesthetics.”

MGX is in multiple collaborations with artists and fashion designers like Iris Van Herpen for example. Van Herpen has revolutionized fashion with mesmerizing futuristic designs that push the boundaries of art and fashion. In fact, a lot of her pieces are found in museums after they hit the runway. Debo notes how like Van Herpen, the “people that make these dresses are the new craftsmen.”

3D printing also allows the combination of traditional art with very high end furniture that matches the art. Joris pointed out how if you have a Jackson Pollock in your home and you want something to match the Jackson Pollock, an artist can custom create a piece or multiple pieces of furniture to match the Jackson Pollock using MGX’s 3D printing technology. Debo further noted how it’s “not only about 3D printing but about craftsmen that can finish the pieces.” This applies to pieces of furnitures, sculptures and even art replicas like museums have begun to use recently.

i.Materialise Root Chair 3D Printing MGX

The Root Chair by Sulan Kolatan and William MacDonald

Joris discussed how art pieces or historical artifacts are sometimes too fragile to travel the world and thus insurance companies will not cover their repair if broken. Moreover, some artifacts, like King Tut’s mummy for example, are irreplaceable and is too risky to move regardless of the financial cost. To show King Tut’s mummy in New York City, National Geographic partnered with MGX in order to make a perfect replica that allowed people to feel they were actually looking at the real King Tut. These kinds of partnerships make it clear as to why museums like the Smithsonian is investing in 3D printing technologies that allow for their rare pieces from fossils to sculptures to be replicated.  In sum, 3D printing technology is not only revolutionizing the industrial world, but it is already changing the aesthetics and culture around us, from clothing to furniture to historical artifacts and art pieces.


Authored by On 3D Printing contributor Rodrigo Garza Zorrilla, technology entrepreneur and advisor.

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