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Aki Inomata 3D-Prints Cityscape Shells for Hermit Crabs

Japanese artist Aki Inomata provided hermit crabs with cityscape-designed shelters.  Her work created back in 2009 titled “Why not hand over a shelter to hermit crabs?” was a series of 3D printings of various city architectures from Tokyo, Bangkok, New York, among others. The pieces were brilliantly crafted.


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Inomata hoped to draw a parallel between human migration from place to place and hermit crab moving from one shell to another.  To achieve this, she created plastic shells depicting building structures and she put them over the hermit crabs.  In doing so, the hermit crabs somewhat mimicked the human migration process.

The miniature architectural sculptures were produced by 3D printing, out of the CT scanned actual sea shells. And these sculptures turned out to be just perfect for the hermit crabs. They seemed happy with their fancy homes!  :)


The hermit crabs wearing the shelters I built for them, which imitate the architecture of various countries, appeared to be crossing various national borders. Though the body of the hermit crab is the same, according to the shell it is wearing, its appearance changes completely. It’s as if they were asking, “Who are you?”

~ Aki Inomata


All images courtesy of Aki Inomata, and published with permission.

To see more of her work, please visit her Website


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Nelson Kamdon

I Am Simply Flowing with the River of Life. I Take What Comes and Let Go What Goes.

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