Stilnest Cuckoo Clocks: A Nest for Modern Design

by Abdul Rehman on November 27, 2013

Stilnest Cuckoo ClockCuckoo clocks have certainly stood the test of time. Originating in the middle of the 18th century, they are as popular today as they were about two centuries ago.

These objects of time, became an objects of art, when designers throughout the world started to come up with new and unique cuckoo clock designs about a decade ago.

Now, Stilnest, a German design company, has merged the timelessness and aesthetics of the cuckoo clock with the technology of the future by producing a beautiful 3D printed cuckoo clock.

Stilnest’s Idea: Old Tradition in New Style

Stilnest, a German company established only a year ago, actually deals in 3D printed jewellery. The word “Stilnest” means “a nest of style” in English. In September this year, this design company thought up a unique idea. It decided to produce a 21st century remake of the old cuckoo clock. To make the clock a reality, it gathered 5 artists from around the world, each assigned to design one of the 5 parts of the cuckoo clock. According to Stilnest’s website:

“We asked them to become part of a crazy idea that we’ve had in mind for a long time: creating a conjoint remake of the traditional German cuckoo clock in synch with the Zeitgeist of the 21st century.”

Finally, Stilnest 3D printed, merged those parts and presented the finished clock at the 3D Printshow at London on November 9th, 2013, demonstrating the possibilities which additive printing can bring to art.

Five Artists, Five Unique Parts

Stilnest actually sent invitation to many artists throughout the world but chose only the five most capable ones. Each of these artists was asked to design a separate part of the clock.

The Cuckoo by Michiel Cornelissen

Michiel CornelissenMichiel Cornelissen, is an artist from the Netherlands. After attaining design engineering education at Delft University, he worked for 10 years at Philips Design. He now designs unique 3D printed structures.

His project that caught Stilnest’s attention was “One in a Million Bird Rings”. Every ring in the One in a Million Bird series has a unique bird on top of it and there are a million such unique rings possible, thanks to a software algorithm developed by Michiel.

He was given the task of designing the star of the show: The cuckoo. For this, he decided to go for an abstract feather-like pattern. He says:

“When the cuckoo project came along, I thought it was time to dress up the bird … That was a nice excuse to play around with some of the Grasshopper definitions I’ve been developing, which enabled to me to create the abstract feather-like pattern for the bird.”

The House by Arte Joyas

Arte JoyasArte Joyas are two designers from Mexico who design 3D printed jewellery.

From silver skull rings and cloud earrings to DNA pendants and gold ratio cuff links, their jewellery items display a unique marriage of Fashion with Additive Printing.

Their Mexican catrina skull silver ring was featured in the Vogue magazine, because of which they were selected by Stilnest to design the cuckoo’s house.

They decided to create nest-like pattern for the house. They say:

“The design is inspired by patterns of wood that are used for traditional cuckoo clocks. We incorporated this pattern to create a 3D branch effect and traced a kind of circular texture that represents the nest.”

The Roof by StudioSinth

StudiosinthStudiosinth is the brand name used by two artists, Tom and Lien, who live and work in Belgium.

They also design and sell 3D printed jewellery. Stilnest writes on its website:

“But their brand means more than this: It stands for positiveness! Positive on the future, the next possibilities in technology and the interaction between people and nature.”

For the roof, they made a complicated three-dimensional pattern resembling leaves and branches of a tree.

The Pendulum by Daniel Hilldrup

Daniel HilldrupDaniel Hilldrup, an artist from London, was chosen by Stilnest to design the pendulum for the 3D printed cuckoo clock.

He is known for Creating Abstract 3D Sculptures. Two of his most famous works which led Stilnest to choose him are: “Data will eat us all” and “Let there be light”.

As expected, his design for the pendulum is abstract as well. He calls it “The Great Oscillator” which consists of a sperm fertilizing an egg with rope-like structures going down to a broken heart. He says:

“So, I have tried to signify all these stages in the pendulum. From the sperm’s quest to find and fertilize the egg, the growth and decay of our limited biomechanical systems through to our energy transference [in some form or another] back into the universe.”

The Horns by Mendel Heit

Mendel HeitMendel Heit is an artist from Berlin, Germany, with an interest in additive printing glass materials.

He is currently working on new glass products for gastronomy, 3D printed ceramics and doing research on 3D Printing of Small Materials. His works “Cumulus” and “Eat some glass” are exhibited at the Shanghai Museum of Glass.

He has designed the horns of Stilnest’s cuckoo clock. They are like the traditional horns of cuckoo clocks but include a pattern of flowers.

The Parts Come Together – The Finished Clock

Stilnest Cuckoo ClockAnother thing worth-mentioning about the Stilnest’s 3D clock is that all the artists didn’t have to come over to Germany for the design and manufacture of the clock. Instead they simply sent their 3D designs to Stilnest by internet.

This clearly demonstrates the superiority of 3D printing over traditional methods, which would have required the designers to be present to incorporate their design into the finished product.

Finally, Stilnest 3D printed and assembled all the parts to form the first 3D printed cuckoo clock. This was then exhibited at this year’s London 3D Printshow where the whole world saw the traditional cuckoo clock reinvented as a modern 3D printed cuckoo clock.

Please feel free to leave a comment below, or share this article with your friends.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

mike wieser November 29, 2013 at 5:57 am

This is a very cool clock you have came up with, cudos to your group.


Tim Bibow November 29, 2013 at 9:35 am

Thanks for this lovely article.
We just launched a short video about the project.
Watch now:


Jase November 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Great video Tim! We’d be very interested in writing about any other projects you might have, either currently or in the future. This has been one of our most popular posts so far too!
Many thanks,
Jason – 3DPrintHQ Team


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