The world’s largest 3D printed butterflies have landed in Sheffield

The world’s largest 3D printed butterflies will be in Millennium Square from Sunday 19 November to Wednesday 3 January 2018.

3D Printed Butterfly

The butterflies, which have more than 100 light changing modes, were created in Guangdong, China by 4D Dreamworks Team- a group of Chinese architecture students.

They were shipped all the way to Sheffield by the Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield, who worked alongside Sheffield City Council and South China University of Technology.

The larger butterfly measures 6.6 x 5.8 x 4.5 meters and the smaller ones are 3.7 x 3 x 3 meters.

Speaking at the Christmas light switch-on, Dr Lucy Zhao, director of the Confucius Institute, said: “Butterflies have always been popular with Chinese tradition. You may have seen them in Chinese embroidery, paintings, and porcelain.

“We also have a famous love story known as Butterfly Lovers, in which two lovers were separated by their parents but they flew away together as two butterflies and were never separated again.

The butterflies have more than 100 light changing modes.

“The frame of the butterflies was created through 3D printing. In this sense, the butterfly lights showcase the combination of tradition, innovation and advanced manufacturing, which is what Sheffield is all about.”

The Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield, which creates ties between China and Sheffield, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

The UK-China diplomatic relationship also celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2017.

Dr Zhao said: “The butterflies are shaped to represent a bridge between the UK and China. We thought we would go an extra mile and arrange something special for our city.”

The display was illuminated last Sunday, during the Christmas light switch-on in Sheffield city centre.

Dr Zhao said: “Christmas is one of the most important occasions, and lighting is crucial to get us into the festive mood. We wanted to add an interesting twist and a pop of colour to the lighting event this year.

“Decorative lights are also used to create a festive atmosphere in China.”

The butterflies will be illuminated from 1pm to 11pm daily.


本次 “蝶变•中国”系列展品由华南理工大学建筑设计研究院“4D梦工坊”团队设计并在中国广州制作完成。展品基于3D打印工艺的全新灯光展陈技术,有100多种灯光变换模式。迄今为止,该展品是全球首个3D打印的大尺度蝶形壳体灯光作品。

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