After the successful Kickstarter launch last year of its flagship Manhattan Collection, Microscape is tackling the Second City. A new collection of thirty-six highly detailed models capturing downtown Chicago is now available exclusively through a Kickstarter campaign that will wrap up on January 25th, 2018.
These models exceed 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.
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.
We had originally conceived of these models as large scale decorative treatments for the walls or ceilings of lobbies or board rooms 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.