German artist and designer Kai Bracher enjoys exploring form and balance. His pieces exhibit his integration of the process of 3D printing as not only a means for creation but as a medium which imposes its own functional requirements and liberates particular aesthetic possibilities. Having worked with metal for years, he is highly cognizant of how 3D printing can impact what it is feasible to create and has made that the difference central to his work.
“For years I have filled sketchbooks with impossible to build sculptures, eventually the time came to materialize all of those fantasies. My goal is to create amazing 3D printed objects that would be impossible or extremely expensive to produce with conventional techniques. Thanks to the fast evolving 3D printing technology, today’s advanced sculpting software and fast hardware, I can build objects and sculptures I could only dream of a few years ago.”
His impressive portfolio shows the facility with which he manipulates form, as well as the playful nature of his creations. Pieces such as his 3D printed wasp drone cover are elegant and enjoyable without the saccharine quality that so often accompanies things that are ‘fun.’ And I have to admit that I would never have realized that an entire chess set dedicated to figures seated on the toilet could be anything but low-brow, but somehow Bracher has managed to convert even this normally inelegant activity into something fascinating.
His latest addition to his body of work is a candlestick known as Striding Man, an elongated figure holding a nearly impossible pose in a state of equally incredible balance. Bracher described his inspiration for his piece:
“I’m constantly sketching and doodling and looking for interesting shapes. One of my main interests is the human form, especially in extreme movements or seemingly out-of-balance poses that are, or at least seem, impossible to hold. Now and then a shape or idea evolves that seems worth pursuing more. In this particular case, I was trying to loosen up a little and not stick to the anatomical rulebook and preferred an interesting shape over anatomical correctness.”
His design evolved with the consideration of 3D printing as the mechanism for production. As such, he was interested in creating a form that would be difficult or impossible to do with classical techniques. In this case, it would be possible to cast this candlestick, but the intersecting arms and legs would make it complicated and greatly increase the expense.
Part of what is so impressive about this piece is its balance, something for which Bracher has developed an instinct over the years. The candlestick stands nearly 20 cm high while the base has a width of approximately 4 cm and yet the pivot point is perfectly placed so that the man holds his impossible pose in a completely tranquil fashion.
Once the sculptural quality of the piece has been perfected and the last technical details worked out, generally using zBrush, Bracher is able to sit back and enjoy his creations without having to print them himself, he notes, “I have no idea how long it takes to print these…that’s the beauty of using a service!”
These captivating creatures are available through Bracher’s Shapeways store Cabrada, a site well worth a visit if for nothing else than to see this and his other work. You might just find that you need to have a lot more candlelight dinners. Join the conversation in the 3D Printed Candlestick forum thread over at 3DPB.com.