Architectural Hermit Crab

Hermit crabs make their home in the New York skyline or a Paris apartment in the intricately crafted plastic habitats, which the artist simply left among natural seashells as options for the creatures.

japanese artist aki inomata creates intricately crafted plastic habitats for hermit crabs, which are influenced by the architecture of major cityscapes — the new york city skyline, a parisian apartment, and a tokyo-style house. the semi-transparent, delicate forms are designed in the style of physical human environments, which ironically become a shelter for the aquatic arthropods.

the biology of the hermit crab makes it a fascinating example of identity transfer — as they grow they require larger shells and periodically interchange their external portion with other members of the crustacean community. inomata connects her study of the hermit’s transformation to the self-adaptation of humans, whether it be in acquiring a new nationality, immigrating or relocating.

throughout her creative process, she determined that her plastic representations needed to sustain and support the hermit crab’s careful shell-selection process. she used CT scanning, typically a medical imaging procedure that produces cross-sectional pictures of the body, to capture highly-detailed, 3-dimensional renderings of an unoccupied seashell, which one of her hermit crabs had abandoned.

based on the tomography of the interior of the shell, she prototyped and produced several types of habitable shelters, which the hermits would find similar in construction to their usual exoskeleton. –DesignBoom.com

Pretty cool idea. Now that we have more accessible 3d printers, it’s exciting to see how people are using them. Pretty creative idea.