3D Project EGG - Michiel van der Kley

Conquering the world with a 3D printer

Some six years ago, Michiel van der Kley became intrigued by the 3D printer. As an early adopter, he purchased a printer and, after experimenting for a year, he got the idea for Project EGG: an egg so large you can stand in it, consisting of 4,760 3D printed stones. A remarkable piece of community art that connects the world.

Working like a cook in the kitchen

Michiel van der Kley started his career as a furniture designer. For years, he worked for leading brands, but work slowly became routine: “I wanted to work more like a cook in the kitchen. And voila: there was the 3D printer. The computer as instrument, linked to a device that makes all your ideas reality. It seemed like a beautiful combination.”

Unchartered territory

“I find it interesting to see to which extent you can change the world with a printer. To find ways in which you can collaborate. Figuring out how to use the 3D printer to its fullest was extremely difficult. It is quite fun and exciting to be in unchartered territory. I worked together with a Structural Engineer from New York to get the correct measurements, which isn’t my strong suit. I also had a lot of contact with other early adopters”, Michiel tells lively. To realise Project EGG, Michiel worked alongside other people in his studio for a year. “Each stone in my design had a different shape, colour and size. I would send the digital file to other people who wanted to print a stone and by doing so, contributed to the project. That is how we created a community. Some people were so enthusiastic that they came all the way from Norway or Barcelona to Tilburg to deliver their printed stone and to look at the design.”


The space is fantastic

With the right contacts and a lot of organic PR, the project became known worldwide in five weeks. Michiel travelled all over the globe to give lectures in New York, Madrid and Manchester. But he kept working from his studio in the city centre of Tilburg. He likes to go to the pub in Tilburg and he is a regular visitor of Paradox: “All the greatest jazz musicians come here. They inspire me, among other things by letting me do my thing in anonymity. I can do what I want in Tilburg, without anyone bothering me. The space that I have here is fantastic. Tilburg is cheap, undiscovered. What’s more, the city has changed a lot in the last few years, it is developing continuously. And I am surrounded by nature. I love cycling and nature inspires me. The forms that nature creates form an important basis for my designs.”

Project EGG is now three years old. In the meantime, Michiel continues to work on new projects, always with a 3D printer. Currently, he is developing a 3D concrete printer that he wants to use to realise a new and large community project in Gelderland. “It would be very nice to extend my collaboration with Tilburg, with De Pont museum, for example.”


The product can be seen as part of the exhibition 'Tilburg and its makers' at Hotel Mercure, Heuvelpoort 300, Tilburg.