The invention of 3D-printing has made art and design more innovative, pushing the limits of possibility and complexity. Even architects are onboard, adding concrete to the mix, over and above its already diverse uses and applications.
Researchers at the Siam Research and Innovation Company (SRI) have combined 3D printing and traditional Thai art to produce a concept surface with many functions. The new process uses 3D printing to develop a strong, visually gratifying design, serving as a prototype for homes made using 3D-design and -printing.
Titled ‘Triple-S’ (the ‘S’ stands for ‘surface’, ‘structure’ and ‘shelter’), the concept employs weaving, which is a Thai handicraft used to make mats and baskets. Weaving is found throughout Thailand and is practiced in many countries.
Not only is Triple-S striking, complex and minutely detailed – it is structurally innovative. In typical architecture, the inner truss and its support function are inputted separately from the surface element. The surface of the ‘Triple-S’ is both support and surface – its roles are aesthetic and functional.
The design is not merely a translation of the distinct, well-known pattern derived from weaving. Several changes – visual and structural – are required to improve the concept’s workability. According to Lapyote Prasittisopin, a researcher in mortar and concrete at SRI, “[The] texture patterns developed in the Triple “S” are derived from moving paths on load-bearing concrete structures.”
SRI was originally launched by the Siam Cement Group (SCG) under the name “Siam Research and Development (Bangkok) Company” in 1992. It was renamed the Siam Research and Innovation Company in 2008, focusing on products and services related to cement, mortar, concrete and refractory.
One of SCG’s main focuses is development for the construction industry. In 2014, a new concrete for 3D printing was produced by SCG researchers using powder, natural fibres and recycled material.
Read more about SCG and the Triple-S concept here.