The New Orleans Skyline Chess Set was born out of CICADA’s love for New Orleans architecture and the art of 3D printing. The concept began in the firm’s early years, when we designed and created giveaways of 3D printed iconic architectural staples in New Orleans, like the Superdome and the infamous Plaza Tower. As our arsenal of New Orleans buildings expanded, we explored creative ideas for pulling the pieces together, eager to develop a cohesive and tangible project. We wanted to create something the public could enjoy, and also something we could appreciate making. A chess set of iconic New Orleans architecture was the perfect solution.
To facilitate a quality product, we knew early on that this needed to be a collaborative effort among creative locals in the community. We reached out to Damien Mitchell, who specializes in leather goods, Four Finger Press for their screen printing services, and Jordan Lambert, a local woodworker. We knew the Tulane School of Architecture could help with the level of mass production we would need in order to keep up with production demand.
Each piece on the chess set has been carefully studied, designed, and materialized numerous times for the perfect print. It was critical to identify the right scale of each piece for the board, and to determine how that piece would then 3D print. The team also had to weigh the cost of the manufacturing processes to keep them affordable, while maintaining their iconic forms. Each piece of architecture was thoughtfully selected to fulfill chess piece definitions, with consideration given to both the structure’ recognition and the historic meaning of the piece itself. The breakdown of each piece is as follows:
// The King - St. Louis Cathedral
// The Queen - The Superdome
// The Bishop - St. Roch’s Mausoleum
// The Knight - Plaza Tower
// The Rook - WW2 Museum
// The Pawn - Traditional Shotgun Home
The set comes in varying price ranges due to board and resolution options. The 3D printed pieces are offered in two colors, black and white, and two types of plastics: polylactic acid, commonly known as PLA (similar to LEGO® plastic) and high-end resin. The board is available in two materials: a mobile screen-printed leather board, or a hand-made oak and walnut wood board. Suede bags are available for stowing your chess pieces when traveling.
// Leather Board & Suede Chess Piece Bags - Damien Mitchell
// Wood Boards - Jordan Lambert Woodwork
// Screen Print on Leather - Four Finger Press
// Resin Prints - TSA Millhaus
// Photography: Emily Ferretti
// Screen Print Design - CICADA
// Chess Set Design - CICADA
// PLA 3D Prints - CICADA
The New Orleans Skyline Chess Set was created from CICADA’s love of New Orleans architecture and passion for digital modeling and 3D printing. From the firm’s early days, CICADA designed and created 3D printed miniatures of iconic architectural staples in New Orleans, like the Superdome and the infamous Plaza Tower. As our arsenal of New Orleans buildings, and our curiosity, grew, we explored creative solutions for sharing the project with the public. Thus the chess set of iconic New Orleans architecture was born.