Tessa’s Designer Pick – Zaha Hadid Architects and 3D Printing


Tessa Blokland  


One of the architectural offices that has a strong signature for freedom of form and shapes is Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA). In 1979, Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid founded her architectural studio and in 2004 she was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize (considered the Noble Prize of Architecture). The sensual and voluptuous lines you will find in her buildings you will also find back in the smaller sized objects, which I have collected in the Designer Pick of September. And of course 3D printing is one of the drivers to make this freedom of design possible.

The first object designed by ZHA is Alis, a small pavilion for Italian project furniture manufacturer Tecno Spa. According to the company, Alis is a mobile space for meeting and interacting and can be installed indoors and outdoors, in offices and commercial spaces: the pod can be fully customized based on the requirements of its users. The pavilion has been constructed with the highest standards with exacting digital manufacturing techniques including 3D printing and CAD/CAM tooling. Alis can be seen at the 17th Venice Architectural Biennale. Once you are there, also pay a visit to the 3D printed footbridge ZHA designed.

In 2017, ZHA presented Thallus, an experimental structure investigating form and pattern generated by advanced manufacturing and computational methods, as the website mentioned it. The structure was the result of an on-going investigation into additive manufacturing, hot-wire cutting technology and robotic assisted design by Zaha Hadid Architects’ Computational Design (ZHA CoDe) research group. This special department within ZHA demonstrated what could be achieved in terms of mechanization and customization in the architecture, construction and engineering industries.

In 2015, ZHA designed the ZHA Chair in collaboration with Stratasys Art, Design and Fashion. The starting point of this chair was to design a relatively lightweight chair that made use of its geometry, detailing and manufacture to highlight and improve its performance. The website mentions further: “ZHA considered the loading condition of a person sitting down, and used the optimization results to create a structural pattern that deploys material density and depth where structurally required.” It resulted into a 3D printed chair using gradations of color and opacity, from transparent to opaque yellow, to represent the structural performance of each area of the chair.

The 3D printed H-Line Hat that ZHA designed for the High Line fundraising party in 2018, is to me also an example of the freedom of design the designers took (also top image). Thanks to advanced computational experience and 3D printing to materialize the digital shape the H-Line Hat is an eye catching design, resembling the architectural lines that you see back in the building of ZHA.

The last 3D printed object from ZHA is Flames, a set of 3D printed shoes for United Nude. Goal of the 2015 collaboration was “to push the technology but I also wanted to push the silhouettes,” as United Nude founder Rem D. Koolhaas told Dezeen. “I also wanted to create conversational pieces and shoes that are not necessarily for everyday wearing but really are beautiful pieces and conversational pieces, almost like art.” Indeed the shoes look stunning and are more art pieces to your feet rather than nice shoes.

LEO Lane_Designer Pick_ZahaHadidand3D 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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