Cucuyo: New Museum Café is a Functional 3D Printed Work of Art

by Clare Scott 6:49 AM Tech Bites

“Cucuyo” means firefly in Spanish, and fireflies are what inspired the design of Cucuyo, the newest café at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). The mobile café resembles a glistening cocoon, and it’s both a work of art and a dining option, serving coffee, sandwiches and other light fare. Managed by Starr Catering Group, the structure looks like an eye-catching art installation, but visitors who step inside will be able to order food such as jerk chicken, chimichurri roast beef, and grain bowls prepared by chef Kaylin Dangaran, who also heads the kitchen at Verde, another PAMM dining spot.

Also, the 700-pound structure is entirely 3D printed.

“We wanted to create a one-of-a-kind piece that served the community and provided another option to museum patrons and locals while complementing the architecture and design of the museum,”

Made from stainless steel, the café structure was designed by Berenblum Busch Architecture and constructed by MX3D, well known for its work on a 3D printed bridge in Amsterdam.

“It was a challenge to design a piece that was not only lightweight and easily disassembled for relocation but also fully functional,” said Claudia Busch, Founding Principal of Berenblum Busch Architecture. “That is why we decided to work with MX3D on manufacturing this project. Their unique technology allowed the construction of this site- specific piece that meets all structural requirements while seamlessly fitting into the PAMM environment.”

alt textCucuyo can be easily disassembled, moved, and reassembled, yet it still has electricity and plumbing to allow it to serve as a full-service dining establishment. It was built with MX3D’s industrial robot, which is equipped with a welding machine and controlled by newly developed software. It will be located outside the museum, and it was designed to let the breeze in while still providing shelter. MX3D describes its architecture as an “open shell” made up of thin crossbeams. The structure is divided into three major components: the front counter, the back counter and the door. When fully assembled, it will be 20 feet long, 10 feet high and 12 feet wide. Cucuyo will overlook Biscayne Bay and can be disassembled for events or during storms.

“The cutting-edge and sculptural design of Cucuyo complements PAMM’s Herzog & de Meuron designed building with its shaded verandas and plazas built for public engagement and interactions with works of art. It will create another meeting point for conversation for our visitors,” said Franklin Sirmans, Director of PAMM. “South Florida’s Berenblum Busch Architects (BBA) and Amsterdam-based MX3D have created an outdoor cafe which enhances a waterfront space created by local and international landscape designers and horticulturists to ‘bring the park into the museum’ in new and innovative ways.”

3D printing has been incorporated into restaurants before, such as Food Ink., which used the technology not only for the food but for much of the furniture and decor. According to MX3D, however, there’s never been anything quite like the fully 3D printed Cucuyo before. The food might not be 3D printed, but the delicate-looking yet sturdy structure is a striking example of what 3D printing can do for architecture. It’s unlikely that such a structure could have been built any other way, and placing it in such a popular location should serve to spread knowledge about the burgeoning field of 3D printed construction.

Cucuyo will open to the public on Thursday, September 28th, and will be open every day except Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

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