When it comes to the expansive community of product designers focused on 3D printing as their medium of choice, few have offered more in the way of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible than Emerging Objects. Between printing a Utah Tea Set out of actual tea to creating a 3D printed house that you’d actually want to live in, the two-person studio does what few others in the 3D printing space do: they explore compelling ideas and they do it well.

More recently, studio founders Ronald Rael, a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an assistant professor at San José State University in the School of Art & Design, put their own twist on a challenging material that’s seen its fair share of attention over the years: clay.

For the GCODE.Clay series, the designers – along with a small support team – created objects 3D printed in various clays that explore the creative potential of designing with G-code – particularly with a focus on creating controlled errors defined by the plasticity of the material, gravity and machine behavior.


While traditional 3D printed ceramic objects depend on subsequent layers of clay to provide an even surface for new layers, the project pushed the boundaries of gravity by seeking to achieve effects seen in woven textiles – such as droopy threads and patterned void spaces:

Says Rael:

“In this project, the unpredictability is the fundamental aspiration of the object making. Patterns emerge and disappear in the variations of the experiments explored. Ceramic becomes soft to the eye, dynamic, with detail that could not be achieved by hand — yet the hand of the digital designer is present in every artifact.”


While the vessels themselves are certainly a sight to behold, the designers ultimately see them serving as prototypes for ceramic cladding systems for architectural applications. Check out the project in full over at Emerging Objects.


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.