GLOBAL NEWS

UNICEF raises awareness of the social stigma of mental health with the exhibition “On our minds” using BCN3D’s 3D printing technology

3D printed busts
Above: The 3D Printed busts printed on BCN3D 3D printers installed by UNICEF on the streets of Paris, France/Image Source: BCN3D Technologies

Faced with the complexity of anxiety, stress and depression problems caused by the pandemic, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) approached creative agency Domestic Data Streamers with a shocking report on the number of children suffering from these disorders in France. Domestic Data Streamers took this information and created 10 busts of real children for a thought-provoking art installation in the streets of Paris.

With millions of people around the world experiencing feelings stemming from these new non-pandemic situations, Unicef and Domestic Data Streamers agreed that it was time to take a crucial stand, ensuring that children will be part of the debate at the World Mental Health Summit 2021 in Paris. 

Busts of ten children with various mental health problems were printed using 3D printing technology, each representing the alarming figure of 100,000 children aged 15-24 suffering from anxiety or depression in France. 

3D printed busts
Above: A 3D printed bust installed by UNICEF on the streets of Paris, France/Image Source: BCN3D Technologies

“Normally, we do tributes to kings and queens and old people and conquerors. We thought it would be a beautiful idea to pay tribute to all these young people who have suffered in particularly difficult conditions during the pandemic.” – Martina Nadal, head of the social impact at Domestic Data Streamers. 

For three days, they decided to tackle the social stigma of mental health by taking the installation to the streets to make it visible and accessible to everyone, as mental health is something that affects all ages. The installation not only appealed to the public but specifically targeted policy makers at the summit as they entered. 

The printed parts were accompanied by volunteers, who told real stories of their own experiences with mental health struggles in the hope that their own experiences could help others. The volunteers addressed a wide range of issues, including racism, cyberbullying and the pressures of having such a busy school schedule that they lacked the time to really get to know each other.

From the 3D printer to the streets of Paris

For this project, time was of the essence, as was attention to detail. 3D printing provided the fast turnaround they were looking for, without compromising the quality that could be achieved for replicas of the real children’s faces. As Domestic Data Streamers have worked frequently with us at BCN3D and use our printers for their prototyping, testing and production processes, they decided to make use of the Epsilon W50 print fleet at our Barcelona offices.

Above: The 3D printed busts. The busts were printed in ABS to achieve a smooth finish and then painted in bright colours/Image Source: BCN3D Technologies.  

The busts were printed in ABS to achieve a smooth finish and then painted in bright colours.  

“We chose to use colours in the installation, firstly because although mental health is a really serious topic we wanted it to be cheerful because it speaks of childhood, and also because this way we could represent diversity.” – Natalia Santolaria, creative director of Domestic Data Streamers. 

The images of these busts boldly placed against the backdrop of Parisian monuments were certainly not to be missed. The conversations held, combined with Domestic Data Streamer’s innovation with new technologies and Unicef’s ongoing efforts to promote understanding of mental health issues, will surely continue to spread far and wide.


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