Emerging Objects, the San Franciscan firm known for 3D printing home decor and art pieces from unique materials like wood and concrete, is now in the process of constructing an entire building, albeit a small one. The saltYgloo is an igloo made from 3D-printed salt.
Made from 336 panels of 3D-printed salt shapes attached to aluminum rods, the saltYgloo is meant to test the potential for creating large-scale, lightweight structures with 3D printing. The salt is gathered from the salt crystallization ponds of the San Franscisco Bay in a drawn-out, natural process. As water is evaporated from said ponds, salt deposits gradually form and, after about five years, a layer of 8-12 inches of solid, crystallized salt is available for industrial purposes. The artists at Emerging Objects, through undisclosed techniques, were, then, able to 3D print individual tiles.
The tiles, each individually unique in design, are assembled in such a way as to resemble an Inuit igloo and, also, “the shapes and forms of tools and equipment found in the ancient process of boiling brine,” according to the artists. And, due to the material properties of salt, the structure is somewhat translucent, as demonstrated in the video below:
If you’re in the Bay Area sometime between October 26, 2013 and January 5, 2014 and you’re lookin’ to get thirsty for some art and architecture, stop by the Museum of Craft and Design and see the saltYgloo up close and personal. And, if you’re a certain growing 3D printing industrial powerhouse in the neighborhood to add another firm to your 3D printing spice rack, you might pay the brilliant artists at Emerging Objects a visit.