3D-Printing Manhattan’s Single Households

In recent years, the average number of people per household in the Western world has been falling. Over half of Manhattan’s households are now single households. This rapid change inspired artists Ziv Schneider and Caitlin Robinson to document the people that make up this new dominant form of living.

For the first time in the history of the Western world, the one-person household has become the dominant mode of living. In Manhattan, New York City’s most densely populated borough, more than half of all homes have a single occupant. This significant change was the inspiration for artists Zico Schneider and Caitlin Robinson to document these New Yorkers inside their homes.

For their installation Watertight, Schneider and Robinson selected 12 New Yorkers who live alone for different reasons. They documented them and their home interiors with a portable 3D scanner, resulting in a documentary. They then used the Skanect software’s ‘watertight’ function and a 3D printer to create a series of miniature portraits in the form of egg-shaped sculptures the size of a hand. They show the homes as capsules that reflect the identity of their inhabitants, and are also reminiscent of the protective shells of hermit crabs.

As more and more people live alone in big cities, new ways of living emerge. The old school phenomenon of co-living is already taking world cities by storm as young urbanites live in smaller spaces than ever. The series of portraits offers a cross-section of a contemporary demographic phenomenon—a form of present-day archeology.