Sources of inspiration

According to the Oxford dictionary, inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. Looking at (product) designers, artists and inventors who are using 3D printing, I myself was wondering where their inspiration comes from. So I decided to do some reading and digging and discovered some interesting things. Amongst the sources of inspiration I found the human body, nature, mathematics, physics, baroque art and one I’m still not really sure about.

Last year Belgian artist Nick Ervinck collaborated with scientist Pierre Delaere for the Parallellepipeda exhibition (art meets science) in M – Museum in Leuven. Since Pierre Delaere’s work mainly focuses on esophagus research, Nick Ervinck decided to create an artistic interpretation of a larynx (you can Google that if you want) that’s gone wild. This resulted in an amazing 2D wall print called AGRIEBORZ. But, being a true artist, Nick Ervinck challenged himself and Materialise to have the AGRIEBORZ 3D printed. Here”s the result:

Photo courtesy of Nick Ervinck -

Another source of inspiration I want to mention is the’ Fall of the Damned’ chandelier by Dutch architect Luc Merx. It appears as a hovering mass of writhing nudes – opulent and bombastic – and recalls the classical motif of the fall of the damned, challenging viewers with age-old questions of guilt and morality. I guess if Peter Paul Rubens would have lived today and knew how to 3D model, he’d probably have come up with this himself.

Fall of the Damned chandelier by Luc Merx

Fall of the Damned, Peter Paul Rubens, 1621

Looking at the huge popularity of fractals in the 3D printing community, I’d say nature might be the biggest source of inspiration. One of the coolest examples to illustrate that is the Dragonfly.MGX (the name itself is already a spoiler) from the German design studio WertelOberfell – platform. The Dragonfly.MGX pendant light draws its inspiration from the curved honeycomb structure of insect eyes and their three dimensional array of light emitting cells.


Dragonfly Macro with Raynox DCR - 250


The final thing I want to talk about is a product. The Padfoot from Dutch designer Michiel Cornelissen is a simple and elegant stand for the iPad. I have no idea where Michiel got the inspiration to design this wonderful little object…

PadFoot iPad Stand: Small, Versatile, Expensive

Padfoot by Michiel Cornelissen

…but when I recently passed this parking lot in my hometown, I thought it might be simply being inspired by daily life and the little things that surround you.

Parking lot

So, what is your source of inspiration?