Words by Antti Rimminen | English editor Julie Uusinarkaus | Main image: Printed house by ICON & New Story.

Some years ago we were told by experts that soon we will all have 3D printers at home. Clearly, this is not the case – and thankfully so. With the technology developing at such a fast pace, we can only imagine the amount of discarded printers that would be in landfills by now.

While we have come to realize that not every home will need a 3D printer, this technology has by no means been forgotten.

Recently, there have been reports on 3D bioprinters capable of developing living tissue in zero and micro-gravity – and with such good results that we may even one day print our organs in space instead of the earth, where gravity can disturb the process. According to 3D Natives, it is very likely that the first functional organ printed in 3D will be obtained outside of our planet.

Printing electronics on skin is another path for the industry, and the benefits of printed elastic bones are also being researched. Scientists are also exploring the possibilities of 3D-printed ovaries to treat infertility, while we are also witnessing the difficulties in defining legislation regarding 3D printed guns.

This part in our series focuses on some of the interesting projects we feel could have near future design potential.


We don’t need a 3D printer in every house – but how about we build houses with one? New Story is a non-profit working to create a world where no human lives in survival mode by providing one of life’s most basic needs – shelter. The organization currently works in Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador and Bolivia and has so far funded more than 2,000 homes for families in need.

New Story is working with robotics company ICON to create a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem. The result is “the Vulcan,” a 3D Home Printer designed to print a 60-80 m2 home for approximately 4,000 USD in less than 24 hours.

It will take years to test the durability of building this way – but if successful, our world could be very different. However, New Story and ICON will still need several rounds of funding before we know whether this technology is truly the best socio-economic and ecological way to solve the monumental challenge of housing around the globe.


Another interesting project is the printed bridge, designed by Joris Laarman Lab.

MX3D is 3D printing a fully functional stainless steel bridge to cross one of the oldest canals in the center of Amsterdam, the Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

MX3D equips typical industrial robots with purpose-built tools and develops the software to control them. The unique approach allows them to 3D print strong, complex and graceful structures out of metal.


Additive Addicted: Series 22-15 | Breeze

Additive Addicted by Babette Wiezorek explores the interface between materials research and development, generative strategies of coding and technological process design.

She focuses on additive and computer-aided manufacturing procedures using fluid materials, ceramics in particular.

Additive Addicted produces and distributes customizable algorithm-based ceramic objects and offers workshops to share knowledge and impart the specific features and qualities of this technology.

To see more work from Additive Addicted, visit the Around Portfolio section.

3D PRINTING IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: Iris Van Herpen SS 2019 Haute Couture

Iris Van Herpen, Haute Couture Summer 2019

The master of utilizing 3D technology in fashion, Iris Van Herpen once again shows how it’s done in her SS19 Haute Couture SHIFT SOULS collection, which features 3D constructions combined with amazingly dyed fabrics, pleating and 3D printed jewelry.

Van Herpen recently revealed to WWD that in addition to working on a new book, there will also be a confirmed major exhibition at an undisclosed site in Paris in 2020. She is also in the completion stages of her first big architecture project, a natural history museum located somewhere in the Netherlands, which is still under wraps.

The Material Age is an ongoing series of articles here on Around that focuses on innovative and interesting materials and trends within material design. The aim of this series is to challenge our readers to re-think about the materials surrounding them. Click here for previous stories in the series.