I’m no businessman, but I can close my eyes and imagine: There’s a nice cherry-oak desk with hand-carved legs (belonged to my grandfather); a large window overlooking the well-manicured lawns of Silicon Valley sits behind me; to the right is a stern bookcase housing technical manuals, binders of business reports, and a collection of the works of Philip K. Dick; and resting on my desk is a large, plastic block that reads: “Humanitarian Award for Most Amount of Money 5 Years in a Row.” Inside of the cube is a small, 3D-printed representation of my head and all is right with the world. I open my eyes and I think to myself, “Who designs those things?”
You know, those awards, sometimes crystal and sometimes plastic, given out at corporate events? You might see them on some fancy person’s desk. Or at the bank, displaying the financial institution’s logo between two gold bars. Well, it turns out that there are companies out there responsible for constructing those strange pieces of modern art. And Dutch company Strijbosch Acrylics Unlimited is one of them.
Though the acrylic block itself is not 3D printed, SAU has begun incorporating 3D-printed elements into their designs this year and the effect is almost mystical. In the case of the above “financial tombstone”, for an acquisition worth €54,000,000, a 3D-printed part representing the business transaction is forever commemorated in a frozen, dreamlike state. Other tombstones and placards feature the full-color, 3D-printed components affixed on the outside. Less dreamy, but interesting nonetheless.
Some artists have seen the retro-futuristic appeal of such pieces. Aside from the financial tombstones, which are so unfortunately named, SAU has also worked with a number of artists that wish to encase their pieces using the company’s acrylic process, though the works aren’t necessarily 3D-printed in this case. The resulting pieces are eerie and unique. You might be imagining sculptures simply frozen in plastic cubes, but some of the works use the acrylic to do some truly inventive things. Ted Noten, who we’ve covered once before and has incorporated 3D printing into a number of exhibitions, came up with this really ingenious handbag.
If you’ve ever wanted to embed something into an acrylic block, be it for a financial tombstone, a traditional tombstone, or a sculpture of a head, these folks seem to handle it all. I wonder if they do carbonite… There’s this one spaceship pilot that plays by his own rules and owes me a large sum of money that I’ve been looking to encase as a nice piece of decoration. Mah kee cheezay. Hassatamooma koh kee malyaloongee dey bimlio deesah shlong Twass pahs teeka al won roonk. Ya ma da poonoo.