Dirk Vander Kooij Studio
Dirk Vander Kooij Studio

The exhibition explores the added value of 3D Printing – a groundbreaking manufacturing technology likely to be critical in the next decades – for the lives of individuals, our society and the environment. The exhibition features 3D-printed works of art, design, engineering and scientific fields by renowned artists, designers, public initiatives and prestigious research institutions, as well as by unknown innovative makers.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE / A DIFFERENCE IN MAKING looks at 3D Printing with both the eyes of fascination and a deeper observation of its consequences. Visitors are invited to discover a production technology that allows us to make things differently, and also ponder how it can help individuals, enable social changes and positively contribute to the environment. In other words, how 3D Printing is making a difference.

The exhibition made its first appearance at Bozar, the Center for Fine Arts in Brussels, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Materialise, a pioneering Belgian company dedicated to the engineering, development and application of 3D Printing. Curated by Marta Malé-Alemany, it was always the intention to make the collection a travelling exhibition. In September 2016, the highly reputed Red Dot Design Museum in Essen, Germany, will be the second location to host the collection, exploring the impact of new technology on the processes of design.

Produced by


Curator: Marta Malé-Alemany
Graphic Design & Scenography: Pinkeye

Project Management: Joris Debo
Communication & Project Coordination: Pascale Notté

Copywriting: Elizabeth Boorman, Stéphanie Benoit
App Development: Materialise Malaysia

Logistics: Celina Rajamanickam
3D Print Management: Bert De Niel

Project Highlights

Picture Credits - Stéphane Briolant Paris


WertelOberfell & Matthias Bär

The FRACTAL.MGX table has become an iconic piece of furniture and in its essence explores the potential of 3D Printing in design. The table consists of a series of arborescent legs, which bifurcate repeatedly as they reach the tabletop, following the fractal growth pattern of trees. The overall design reaches a formal complexity that is impossible to produce by methods other than 3D Printing.



Patrick Jouin

ONE_SHOT.MGX is one of the first applications of 3D Printing for furniture design in the history of this technology. Its groundbreaking concept is still relevant today because it explores how 3D Printing can be used to manufacture entire assemblies of parts in one piece, a unique characteristic of this technology. The stool is printed as a complete object with all its hinges, allowing it to twist and acquire its final form as soon as it comes out of the printer.



Iris van Herpen in collaboration
with Daniel Widrig

Iris Van Herpen is known for her designs, and also for bringing 3D Printing into the world of high fashion. The ESCAPISM dress, designed in collaboration with Daniel Widrig and Materialise, explores the use of highly intricate geometries around the female body, creating an exuberant and unique garment that has been recognized worldwide.



Peter Donders

The TI-JOIN is a hybrid chair, the result of an assembly of 3D Printed metal joints and carbon fiber tubes. Following the principles of lightweight design, the joints provide rigidity and structural strength with a minimal amount of material. 3D Printing is thus applied where it can be of most service, helping to reduce production costs and indirectly benefit the environment.



James Novak

The FIX3D bike frame is a one-off, custom-made piece of sports equipment exceptional in its minimal design and striking absence of material. It was designed using lattice structures to make it lighter and stronger than traditional bike frames, and manufactured in one piece using 3D Printing. The bike evokes the critical role 3D Printing can play in saving energy and resources in the future of mobility.



Anaplastologist Jan De Cubber

Together with advancements in medical imaging, specialized software and 3D Printing equipment are making a difference to individuals by providing customized medical solutions. For a patient who suffered facial cancer, this anaplastology case shows a 3D Printed attachment made from titanium, used to support a 3D Printed silicon prosthesis on the patient’s face.



OBL, a Materialise Company

With the advent of 3D scanning tools and 3D Printing, custom medical implants became a reality that is due to transform the lives of many individuals. Today, a patient’s anatomical data can be used to generate a 3D model of a person’s body, design a custom implant, and print it in titanium. Beyond its perfect fit, this skull implant is designed with a porous, intricate three-dimensional microstructure that facilitates natural bone growth.



Dror Benshetrit

The VOLUME.MGX lamp shows how a 3D Printed product can be conceptualized and manufactured with an effort to reduce material and energy costs. The lamp consists of a series of articulated parts created to be collapsible for printing and within a minimal volume of nylon powder, thus reducing material and machine time. After printing, the lamp can be unfolded and expanded to its complete volume.



Factum Arte performance of
a design of Giambattista Piranesi

The HELIX TRIPOD is an object that has never existed. A piece that lived only in Piranesi’s imagination, it was first 3D modeled on a computer in 2010 based on his old sketches. Using the tripod’s virtual data, 3D Printing enabled the conservation and expansion of Piranesi’s cultural heritage by finally creating his imagined work of art, centuries after his death.



Earl Stewart

The 098XYZ shoe is an example of hybridization between 3D Printing technology and traditional shoe making. It illustrates how the most advanced processes of fabrication can be integrated with (and contribute to the revival of) well-established crafts.




Hearing aids are one of the best examples to show how 3D Printing is positively affecting the lives of individuals, by providing mass-customized medical care. With 3D Printing, now over 90% of the devices that are produced worldwide are customized to fit the shape of an individual’s ears and fabricated at a competitive market price.



David Graas

SCREW IT is a collection of small 3D Printed objects that are specifically designed to assemble industrial products in a creative way, giving them a new meaning and functionality. SCREW IT demonstrates how 3D Printing can be a means to repurpose everyday objects and give them a second life.


Red Dot Design Museum

Red Dot Design Museum


27.09.2016 – 30.10.2016

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Bozar Centre For Fine Arts

Bozar Centre For Fine Arts

Brussels, BELGIUM

24.04.2015 – 23.06.2015

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Practical Information



27.09.2016 — 30.10.2016
Every day: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Last entrance: 5 p.m.
Monday: closed


Red Dot Design Museum Essen
Gelsenkirchener Straße 181
45309 Essen



GPS: N 51.447328 E 7.011423

Tram line 107, exit at station “Zollverein”.

Motorway A42:
exit “Gelsenkirchen Hessler/Essen-Katernberg” (towards Essen-Katernberg)

Motorway A40/A52: 
Coming from the direction of Duisburg/Düsseldorf: exit “Essen-Frillendorf Süd” (towards E-Stoppenberg)
Coming from the direction of Bochum/Dortmund: exit “Essen-Kray” (towards Gelsenkirchen-Rotthausen)

Follow the signs marked “Zollverein”. The parking site A2 can be used free of charge




We would like to thank our partners for their support!