Meet the designers printing houses out of salt and clay

Early on, they realized they had something unique to bring to 3D technology. “We both come from rural backgrounds, growing up outside in the landscape, literally playing in the dirt,” says San Fratello. “We were both able to bring our own lived experiences to that—our own connections to the earth and to agriculture. That lived experience combined with these amazing technologies, and that’s why our practice is different. We bring our love of earth and literally put it in the printer.”

people relaxing in a 3D printed cabin
Emerging Objects’ experiments in materials, software, and hardware come together in this prototype dwelling unit. Zoning restrictions were relaxed in response to the Bay Area housing crisis, which inspired the pair to address housing problems at a micro scale.


Whether it’s a cabin, a brick, a vessel, or an art installation, a constant of their work is its rethinking of natural materials through the lens of technology. A project might be printed from mud, sawdust, salt, or Chardonnay grape skins—all materials that come from the earth. Everything is about experimentation, about asking “Why not?”

The pair would defy any attempts at categorization, however. As they say on their website, “It would be impossible for us to say we have a studio philosophy. We just try to keep making.”