Microscape | The Chicago Collection ($75+) exceeds the already high standard for quality and detail set by the original Manhattan Collection, with a new, more precise 3D-printing process and additional layers of scan data near ground level picking up the bridges over the Chicago River, the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier and the complex layering of streets and El tracks in and around the Loop.
Backers of this new Kickstarter campaign will be able to reserve models at heavily discounted prices — as low as $65 for a very limited number of units. They will additionally have an opportunity to purchase the entire collection pre-assembled and ready to hang as a stunning, 36” x 36” art piece for $2700 — 60% of its planned, post-Kickstarter price.
As with the Manhattan Collection, Microscape’s Downtown Chicago Collection slices up the city into a north-south-oriented grid of six-inch squares. Each square equates to approximately ½ of a mile (around four Windy City blocks) at 1:5000 scale. The 1.3° skew from true north of Chicago’s street grid makes for a more visually interesting sculptural piece, as streets, buildings, bridges, and the Chicago River are all cut through at a slight angle.
Beginning with its home base in Manhattan, Microscape has been collecting aerial 3D scans of cities and processing the data into 3D-printed models. Thousands of these micro-cityscapes — as well as larger, custom installation pieces — have already shipped to architects, urban designers, preservationists and real estate developers around the world. Beyond those in fields that deal with the built environment, Microscape models have been received with tremendous enthusiasm by non-specialists who feel a sentimental connection to New York City and now, Chicago.
“We had originally conceived of these models as large-scale decorative treatments for the walls or ceilings of lobbies or boardrooms in commercial office buildings. Or for use by people in the design disciplines and real estate,” said co-creator William Ngo of TO+WN DESIGN. “But during the months we spent working through the technical challenges of making our scan data printable, we noticed all the attention our test prints and prototypes received from people outside these fields and realized that they could have a much wider appeal.”
“At a time when anyone can use an app like Google Earth to explore a detailed 3D representation of most locations on their phone or computer, the allure of tangible, physical models turns out to be amazingly strong — far stronger than we’d ever have guessed when we began working on this project” added co-creator Alan Silverman of AJSNY.
Microscape began as an informal collaboration between architecture and design firms AJSNY and TO+WN DESIGN, whose combined two decades of experience in digital modeling, photogrammetry, product design and 3D printing was channeled into the initial Manhattan Collection product line.