The Cabin of 3D Printed Curiosities

Publication Date


Document Type


Exhibition/Performance Dates

June 20-28, 2019

Publication Title

San Francisco Design Week

Conference Location

San Francisco, CA


The Cabin of 3D Printed Curiosities takes advantage of digital craft and 3D printing to allow every tile, block and panel to be unique and customized. The cabin is made using custom hardware, software, and materials that allow for the production of personal and meaningful buildings and experiences. The San Francisco Bay Area is experiencing a housing crisis, never before has the cost of real estate, new construction and rent been so high. Because of this emergency situation cities around the bay area have relaxed their zoning laws, design review process and permitting requirements in order to allow home owners to craft secondary structures on their lots. These relaxed laws are opening the door to experiments in “Craft It Yourself” Architecture. The Cabin of 3D Printed Curiosities takes advantage of these relaxed codes and laws and brings many of Emerging Object’s material, software, and hardware experiments together to demonstrate the architectural potential of additive manufacturing on a weather tight, structurally sound building. All of the cabin’s componentry are produced in a micro-factory, the print farm, which is located nearby the site of the cabin.
The front facade has been described as a box of exquisite chocolates—it is composed of 3D printed Planter Tiles to create a living wall of succulents that naturally thrive in the Northern California climate. Several different materials are used to craft the tiles, including different shades of Portland cement, sawdust, chardonnay, and combinations thereof.
The roof gable and east and west facades are clad in 3D-printed ceramic tiles that serve as a rain screen. Designed for easy assembly, these tiles are made to be hung on a building facade or interior. The surface of each ceramic tile visually emulates a knitting technique called the seed stitch. G-code is used to control each line of clay as it is 3D printed to create a loopy texture that looks like seeds scattered across the surface. While all ceramic tiles are printed from the same file, each tile is intentionally unique as a product of fabrication, during which the tiles wave back and forth, causing the printer to pull at the line of clay and creating longer and shorter loops toward the end of each tile, producing a distinct machine- made texture that is different every time.
The interior is clad with 3D printed bio-plastic panels that are backlit with LED lights. The bio-plastic is inherently translucent and glows to illuminate the interior. The interior also contains an assortment of chairs and tables that have been printed using different materials such as bio-plastic and nylon. Other objects in the interior including the coffee set and wine goblets are 3D printed using coffee grounds and chardonnay grape skins respectively. The Cabin of 3D Printed Curiosities represents the first steps to a crafted future that we can embrace for both its functionality and beauty. It solves problems around architectural issues that we face everyday, it brings value to the occupant’s lives and it has a strong connection to its locale technologically, geologically and agriculturally. The cabin speaks to the possibility of crafting a future that is just emerging, a future that inventors, designers and creators have the power to customize and produce which is both exciting and important.