WASP’s Residency Program Results in 3D Printed Ceramic Wall Tiles


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WASP is a very different 3D printer OEM. It is a bit more off the wall as it tries to build walls. This is partly due to WASP’s origins, as indicated by its name, World’s Advanced Saving Project. The aim of WASP is to build “zero-mile” homes, using materials found in the surrounding area. The sales of 3D printers are a means to an end and a way to develop technology to help humanity build homes and everything else. WASP is also much closer to designers, makers, and architects than other firms. It works in symbiosis with many creatives, which brings it close to the cutting edge and enables it to create more beautiful things than others.

Now, the company has collaborated with IOUS Studio to create wall cladding. IOUS Studio is a Dutch architectural and design studio founded in 2022 by two Argentines, Sol Sanchez Cimarelli and Agustin Ros. The duo has designed pavilions and has experience in 3D printing. They have created vases, planters, concrete structures, and a wall designed to invite nature to inhabit it.

Through a residency at WASP, the studio has created 3D printed ceramic wall cladding tiles. Showcased at Salone Satellite during Salone del Mobile, the partners used a WASP 40100 system to produce the tiles. The project, named Fusion, is inspired by the ocean and uses shadows on waves to guide its designs. The team has created a series of unique tiles that can be combined to cover a wall with cladding. The tiles were assembled on site. Currently, they can produce over 30 components a day with one machine, and so far, the team has made 4000 components.

For 2024, WASP plans to expand its Residency program to include more artists, architects, and designers. WASP is seeking individuals who can broaden the range of materials available for 3D printing, create accessible tools for designers and artists, and industrialize 3D printed components. Residents can collaborate with WASP employees and use its 3D printers, including the large Crane WASP systems. Participants receive training, and their research is shared with other WASP users. Each project can vary in scope and duration.

Other 3D printer OEMs often use designers to create marketing-related products, with designer engagement seemingly aimed more at generating blog post views or PR rather than producing anything substantive. WASP, however, approaches its Residency program with a more sincere intent. WASP interacts with the design community on equal footing, viewing artists, designers, and architects as pioneers toward a brighter future. These creatives are recognized for their ability to unlock deep secrets within materials, develop new processes, and create beautiful, functional items that can inspire. WASP is in search of explorers and technologists who can help unveil a future yet to be discovered. Instead of collaborating with well-known names for their fame, WASP seeks individuals who are willing to invest the effort and skill necessary to produce parts that could not have been made before.

This is an intelligent approach. An unknown designer could create a highly successful vase or cup that might industrialize a common, high-volume application. Designers with the right sensitivity, quality, and philosophy could make it significantly relevant within the design community. This, in turn, could inspire publications and potentially increase sales of 3D printers within that community. By exploring design and 3D printing more sensitively and relevantly, WASP could achieve similar benefits to those sought by more PR-oriented companies. I hope that every major OEM will establish a Residency program to further the technical and artistic potential of 3D printing.

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