Materialise helps bring Pier Luigi Nervi back to life

Complete scale models of Nervi's buildings reconstructed in stereolithography on Materialise Mammoth machines.

Leuven (BELGIUM), 30 April, 2010. Materialise is playing its part for art by constructing 12 scale models of Italian artist, Pier Luigi Nervi's architectural masterpieces to be shown at an exhibition that will tour the globe, beginning this June in Brussels.

As the first major exhibition devoted to Nervi's entire career, the Brussels exhibition, entitled 'Pier Luigi Nervi, architecture as a challenge', will display complete models of buildings he has constructed worldwide. "We wanted to organise an exhibition to commemorate the great contribution this renowned artist made to the world of art, engineering and architecture," says Elisabetta Margiotta Nervi, Executive of the Pier Luigi Nervi Research & Knowledge Management Project. Elisabetta's husband is Nervi's grandson. "I first met Materialise at a tradeshow in Milan and was introduced to their additive manufacturing technologies.
Their futuristic ideas and the endless possibilities behind these production processes immediately reminded me of Nervi's work. At that point it was clear that I had to collaborate with this company in order to represent Nervi's buildings in the way he would have wanted it," she added.

Instrumental to the exhibition's success, it's crucial that these miniature representations demonstrate complexity and ingenuity of each structure. That's why Materialise uses and additive manufacturing technique called Mammoth stereolithography to build models that range in size from 300 mm to 1 metre. Materialise's Mammoth stereolithography technique provides a unique benefit of being able to produce a component in any requested shape without manual effort and with dimensions of up to 2100 mm x 700 mm x 800 mm.
"Due to the fine layers and the high quality of the Mammoth machines, we only need to finish the models to a basic level. This allows us to keep the maximum of detail in these remarkable Nervi creations" explains Jeroen Moons, Project Manager for Materialise.
As the client required white reproductions, a white epoxy material is used and painted white for extra protection and cosmetic reasons. After Materialise produces the structures, they will be delivered into the hands of a model maker who will add the finishing touches, such as wood roofing and tiny figures.
"It's extremely important that the models last as the exhibition will tour for some time," says Jeroen. "We are proud that our models will be travelling the globe to countries where Nervi's works are located and will inspire other people in their creative processes."

Described as "the most brilliant artist of reinforced concrete of our time", Nervi (1891-1979) succeeded in turning engineering into an art by taking simple geometry and using sophisticated prefabrication to find solutions in his buildings. Most of his structures are found in his native Italy, but his work is scattered throughout the world.
Envisioned to run for a few years, there are future plans for Materialise to build 22 models in total. After its debut in Brussels (4 June - 8 August), the exhibition will stop in Venice (29 August - 21 November) for the 12th International Architecture Exhibition, and then scheduled to visit Rome in December and North America and South America after that.

Exhibition Pier Luigi Nervi, l'architecture comme défi 04.06 > 08.08.2010 / CIVA, Kluisstraat 55, 1050 Brussel

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