Tessa’s Designer Pick – Alex Gould


Tessa Blokland  


This month I would like to focus on a man with a mission. The mission: slowing down the decline in the health of the world’s coral reefs. The man: Melbourne-based Alex Gould. Gould spent his final honors year developing MARS, which eventually lead to co-founding Reef Design Lab with David Lennon. With Reef Design Lab (RDL), Gould continues the research into constructed marine habitats and to work closely with marine research organizations.

In 2013, Gould spent his final honors developing MARS, the abbreviation of Modular Artificial Reef Structure. MARS is a 3D printed structure, molded-in ceramic to assemble nurseries for coral to grow on. The advantage of using modules is that each of the modules can be transported by small boats and built underwater as if it is a lego set to the need of the coral farm or the restoration goal. Each unit has specially designed surface geometry to encourage the natural recruitment of juvenile coral and to make it easier for transplanted coral to take hold. The ceramic structures not only provide a rigid structure for transplanting coral it also serves as habitat protection for other species in the area.

Since 2015, Gould and RDL have collaborated with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science on the Living Seawall research project. What you see on the image is a bolted 3D printed tile to one of Sydney’s seawalls (also top image). The research question is how 3D printed geometries can be used to create habitat for native intertidal species that live on seawalls and to explore which designs will encourage native species colonization and foster biodiversity.

In 2017, Gould designed the 3D printed reefs for the WWF Netherlands oyster reef restoration research project in the North Sea. The main challenge for this project, as the website explains, was how to design the units for simple deployment knowing we couldn’t include any steel reinforcement during the printing process. Gould created a lifting part inside the unit that would hold the majority of mass from underneath while the habitat shelves in the design prevented the unit from flipping over. In the end, 50 units were 3D printed by Boskalis in sizes ranging from 50cm high to 120cm high and will be monitored over the coming years, to assess the effectiveness of the material and technology.

In 2014, Gould created over life-size noses with 3D scanning and 3D printing in parts for the Aesop’s Nasotheque campaign. The noses were installed in the Myer windows, they later went to a number of Aesop’s individual store locations around the globe for display.

Alex Gould in – I guess – his most favorite habitat.

LEO Lane_Designer Pick_Alex Gould and 3D Printing

Each of Tessa’s designer pick is a curated group of 3D printed designs or projects from one designer or design studio. If you would like to offer a designer or design studio for Tessa, or if you have your 3D printed designs or projects you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest picks every week in your mailbox.


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