Cutting-edge technology: 3D printed artworks exhibited, and not a paper jam in sight

The 3D Printshow 2013 showcases technology which can now be used to create everything from robotics and bionic ears to high heels, film costumes - and even the first printed car

The cavernous room is littered with skulls shaped from intricate lace patterns in plastic, architectural forms under glass and delicate sculptures of reclining figures. In artistic flair they wouldn’t look out of place at the Tate Modern, but these exhibits share one common factor: they were shaped with a computer and printed out by a machine.

The 3D Printshow 2013, which opened on Thursday at London’s Business Design Centre, is Britain’s foremost showcase for the cutting-edge technology, which can now be used to create everything from robotics and bionic ears to high heels, film costumes and even the first printed car.

The fair has more than doubled in size after its inaugural year in 2012 and the organisers expect it to double again next year. An emerging focus of the show is art. It claims the gallery overlooking the main hall holds the world’s largest collection of 3D printed artworks, with prominent artists in the field including Joshua Harker, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez and Nick Ervinck.

“The show has artists from around the world, which is pretty exciting,” said Jon Fidler, founder of 3D printing design consultancy Modla.

“We are increasingly fascinated by the art aspect. The recent news around 3D printing has seen interest surge. The numbers of artists in contact is rising.”

As costs come down and the machines become more widely available, the community of artists choosing it as their medium is growing. From just over 20 artists in the first year of the 3D Printshow, there are now close to 45. Mr Plummer-Fernandez said he was attracted by the “creative energy that comes with emerging technologies” and the novelty of the new form.

Jim Stanis, a New York visual artist whose work is also on display, has been experimenting with 3D printing for two years. “This is basically a new medium for artists. How often in history do you get that?” he said. “In the past few hundred years you’ve had film, animation and photography. Those were all ground-breaking. This is the big thing of our time. The idea we can create things we couldn’t before is mind-blowing.”

Artists have travelled from all over the world to display at the fair. Kerry Hogarth, its founder and chief executive, said: “Artists are looking at what they can do with the technology. The gallery has grown and the ability of the artists is unbelievable.

“There are a huge amount of artists that are starting to step towards it. Some of those exhibiting were traditional sculptors and have made their first piece. They’re in awe of what they could achieve. It was something they couldn’t do by hand.” Lilia Ziamou, a sculptor who previously worked with stone and plaster, turned to 3D printing “because it is a new tool. It’s fascinating, it’s very exciting as a technology. The cost is quite high but hopefully it will come down quite soon”.

Louise Shannon, curator of digital design at the V&A, said: “It’s still pretty experimental. It’s the early adopters who are using it at the moment. When the material stabilises more, it may jump to the fine art market.”

The V&A explored 3D printing in a show called Power of Making in 2011. “It has often been deemed as the next industrial revolution. I’m not sure there’s another moment in recent history where you can say this changes everything as much as 3D printing,” Ms Shannon said.

It could take a big name artist to use 3D printing to take it to the mainstream, as with fashion when Iris van Herpen 3D-printed shoes.

“Last year we struggled to get five fashion designers that were at the quality of the catwalk,” Ms Hogarth said. “Now we’re turning them away.”

Arts and Entertainment
Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham
Downton

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

art
Arts and Entertainment
The kid: (from left) Oona, Geraldine, Charlie and Eugene Chaplin

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised

art
Arts and Entertainment

Review: Series 5, episode 4 Downton Abbey
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past