How technology preserves art history

This is a chair that once belonged to Marie Antoinette, exhibiting in the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was created by Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sené, and painted by Louis-François Chatard, in 1788, a year before the french revolution

As you can see the top of this chair is slightly damaged, but already has an impact on the aesthetics. Two people decided to use 3D technology to fix the chair, Zoe Allen, and Phil James. Because the wooden part was all hand crafted, it was extremely hard to make a look like. So they made a mold of the remaining part , then they scanned it to create a mirrored 3D image, and 3D printed the parts.

This is how the chair looks like after the restoration!

This is a ceramic lion that was found in the city of Nuzi, it was used to worship Ishtar. It was destroyed by the Assyrians during war, and now it nest in Harvard’s Semitic Museum. The 2 foot long lion was so damaged only the front paws and back legs were left of the statue. So what they did was to borrow the same statue that was stored in Upenn, and restored the statue with 3D printing. As you can see, it is as realistic and similar as it can be.

This is the restored lion statue, it is complete now and can help people study the history of Akkadian Empire. History is to easy to be forgotten, and the ancient civilizations are often overlooked. Maybe to majority of people an empire that existed in the bronze age is not important, but it is through the course of history that we get to where were are today. And the fact that we can use technology to restore what is lost, is simply fascinating. Especially when you think of all the monuments in Syria that has been destroyed by the ISIS. Though restoring the mounuments with 3D printing does not mean restoring the people’s identities. If the day does come, and we can safely restore them in that land, it means so much not only to the preservation of art, but to the people’s culture and more importantly their identity.

Continuing on our topic on 3D printing with recyclable materials. There has been a recent breakthrough in the industry, with this machine being invented.

The reason why I am so impressed is that I have been interested in creating a more accessible sustainable 3D printing, an open source that can turn into a social entrepuership opportunities for many developing county. Of course, it is unsurprisingly capitalized, no matter how they claimed to make it ‘accessible to students, designers and everyone else’. It is in the end all about money. It costs 699USD, hardly ‘accessible’ at the moment.

However, they still deserve a round of applause, for those who can afford it, this machine is sustainable and changes the way of how we view 3D printing. It can save the environment by producing less waste.

For those who doesn’t know how filaments work, the most important thing in the process is melting the material. And as you can see in the video, the materials you insert has to be in small pieces, in order to be melted into a filament. The biggest barrier as a designer for sustainable 3D printing, personally, would be to simplifying the shredding process. Here is a industrial sized shredder. It is expensive to buy the metal blades, even if you 3D print them with metal filaments, it is not easy to access. So for me, the next breakthrough will be when we can make filament making accessible to the public.

3D Printing Helps Museum Restore Lavish Chair Originally Owned by Marie Antoinette

Harvard’s 3D-Printing Archaeologists Fix Ancient Artifacts


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