Recreating a blooming flower is not something that one would typically associate with modeling and 3D printing with SolidWorks, however design student Richard Clarkson has accomplished just that in a recent additive manufacturing-based college class. The Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design student put his Creative Digital Manufacturing course to good use when he chose to explore the kinetic possibilities of 3D prints and how they can be used to recreate movements seen in the natural world by using the simple principal of pushed air.

A Network of Hollow Chambers

Blossom” explores the blending of two materials with varying physical properties transitioning from flexible to rigid. The variation offers an opportunity to generate complex forms and dynamic structures that are impossible to make by any other means”

With recent advances in 3D printing allowing the simultaneous deposition of different build materials in a single print, Clarkson used these technologies to his advantage by seamlessly distributing materials within the flowers for structural and functional advantage:






When the air bladders are compressed, air is pushed into a network of curved hollow chambers that reside within the petals…effectively pushing against each other to create the blossoming movement and reveal the interior of the complex structure.








The Blossom project is without a doubt one of the coolest additive manufacturing-based experiments we’ve seen in awhile and it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.

(Images via Richard Clarkson/Blossom)


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.