3D printing and architecture are two fields that are slowly but surely converging together. We have begun to see many architects and engineers all over the globe really move forward in utilizing 3D printing in the construction of buildings. It’s just a matter of time before the technology begins being used on a grander scale. For one company, called Meïsō, 3D printing has allowed for the construction of a type of dwelling we have not seen quite yet within this industry, and the end results turned out quite phenomenal.
No it wasn’t a 3D printed house, nor a 3D printed apartment building or estate. With the help of their co-founder, Alexandre Kournwsky, Meïsō created a 3D printed meditation cocoon, unlike anything we have seen before.
“As an industrial designer (ENSCI les Ateliers), I am very interested in meditation and how technology can help us achieve this particular and healthy state of mind,” Kournwsky tells 3DPrint.com. “I’ve discovered floatation tanks and realized it was not well known in France. I decided to create a float center in Paris, but instead of buying already made float tanks that were quite expensive, I wanted to make my own. I didn’t have much money and I had to start from something. I had a MakerBot 3D printer under my desk that I used for my work and I decided to use it to build the first molds of the tank’s shells.”
So Meïsō spent 3 full months 3D printing 500 individual bricks, which when combined together form the 3D printed float tank. Once all of these brick were completely finished, they were assembled, prior to being coated in order to ensure a smooth finish. It took the team about 2 additional weeks to coat and sand the float tank, before painting it and then coating it in fiberglass. This ultimately became the company’s first mold in the design process.
“This 3D printed piece enabled us to make our first shell that has been used to make our real mold (in fiber glass), that has been used to make a second tank and will be used again and again for the next tanks to come,” Kournwsky tells us.
The process of 3D printing this tank saved the company a tremendous amount of money in the fabrication process. It cost Meïsō approximately €4,000 to create the 3D printed pre-mold, another €1,000 to fabricate the industrial mold, and it allowed them to save an incredible €60,000 in the process.
“An already made float tank costs approximately 30,000 euro,” he said, “but the tank, the cost of a sound-proofed, salt-proofed, water-proofed room, fully equipped with the shower, ect., is between 70-90,000 euros.”
The prototype is now ready to be installed in the La Paillasse float space in Paris, which will be opening to the public in March of this year. Anyone who is curious about trying these unique float tanks is welcomed to do so. Whether you are someone interested in achieving alternative states of consciousness or someone just curious about eactly what these float tanks are capable of, it is recommended that everyone try these tanks out at least once.
Some individuals who may be interested in used these tanks, as Kournwsky tells us, are those who have an interest in these methods of meditation. This includes people with chronic back pain, those suffering from stress who need an efficient way of relaxing their bodies and minds, pregnant women in their last trimester, and athletes who either need a rest after a significant physical activity or want to partake in guided imagery as mental training.
“From what we have seen so far, men are as much interested by floatation than women,” says Kournwsky. “The young generation (25-35) and the post 68’s generation seem to be more interested than the 40-50 (generation).”
Regardless, this goes to show how much money 3D printing can save companies whether it is in the production of large scale buildings or more simplistic cocoon-like dwellings like these float tanks. What do you think about Meiso’s unique use of 3D printing? Discuss in the 3D printed float tank forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of the 3D printed float tank being constructed below.