Kingston University design students play key role in project commissioned by car manufacturer Nissan to create world's largest 3D pen sculpture

Posted Thursday 15 September 2016

Creative Kingston University students have joined forces with a group of artists to create the world's largest 3D pen sculpture – in the shape of a car. Product and furniture design student Karsan Haval teamed up with interior design undergraduates Luiza Darie-Vlasceanu, Femi Adedoyin, Ruby Asare-Brown and Yelitzelena Leonard to play a key role in an 800 hour project crafting a full-sized replica of the Nissan Qashqai Black Edition for the Japanese firm, which manufactures 58 real cars in just one hour.

The work was commissioned by Nissan to demonstrate the refined design of its new European crossover model. Students from the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture were called on to take part, spending two weeks drawing onto a stenciled car with a 3D pen, which was then used to weld the elements of the sculpture together. "We started by drawing key areas of the car, adding contour lines to accentuate the profile of the vehicle and covering the whole car in masking tape to fill the gaps, creating panels," Karsan explained. "In the early stages it was difficult to imagine what the finished ‘drawing' would look like, but once we started webbing the contour lines to fill the panels and connecting them together, it really started to take shape."

The team used 3Doodler pens, which allow an artist to draw in the air – producing objects and patterns by heating solid plastic to 230 degrees Celsius and forcing it through a small nozzle as it cools. "Once we removed the panels we'd created away from the masking tape, we could really appreciate the separate strands of plastic that capture the movement of the 3D pen," Karsan, 23, said. "It took a lot of patience and concentration – the finished model is made up of 13.8 kilometres of plastic strands."

Kingston University student Karsan Haval inspects the team's work with project leader, 3D artist Grace Du Prez. Photo: NISSANThe Kingston University students worked alongside 3D printing artist Grace Du Prez, who was commissioned by Nissan Europe and led the team to create the 3D pen-drawn version of the car. Luiza Darie-Vlasceanu, 22, said working with Du Prez had reinforced the importance of teamwork. "As an artist I am quite independent and I like to take the lead, but following Grace's guidance really taught me to look at the project from a group perspective," she said. "It was amazing to see how each person interpreted the brief to draw their own designs, but to then bring it all together into this spider web of intricate patterns was a really collaborative experience."

The final sculpture stretches more than four metres long and nearly two metres high, the same size as the actual vehicle – a feat Karsan says is testament to the progress of 3D art. "3D printing has really taken off in the last five years and will continue to grow and develop – it's now used in the medical world to help surgeons with procedures and has even sky rocketed into space to assist astronauts," he said. "It's changing the face of art as we know it."

Kingston University interior design course leader Greg Epps said working with commercial companies gave students invaluable experience. "Our students are resourceful and responsive to opportunities that broaden their experience of the design industry - and this project allowed them as interior and product designers to collaborate on an incredible project," he said. "They played a key role in combining the delicate crafting of a large object with cutting edge technology."


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