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Mimaki builds Minecraft’s sustainable city

Mimaki builds Minecraft’s sustainable city

Mimaki Europe has partnered with video game giant Minecraft together with a French government administration to deliver a nationwide competition that aims to raise awareness of social and environmental issues amongst young people.

With over 1,200 entrants, aged from 13 upwards, vying to create the ultimate sustainable town using Minecraft’s video game platform, Mimaki’s 3DUJ-553 full-colour 3D printer was used to bring the winning design to life in vivid detail, resulting in an intricate 3D printed model that was gifted to the victor in October, a year after the competition began.

The competition, entitled ‘Villes et Territoires de demain’, was judged by a diverse and esteemed cohort of professionals, ranging from Microsoft and IGN executives to architects, social media influencers and government officials from France’s ‘Ministère de la Cohésion des Territoires et des Relations avec les Collectivités Territoriales’.

Whilst aiming to inspire creativity and ingenuity through its focus on design, artistic quality and originality, the competition primarily invited participants to devise innovative solutions for an array of pertinent social and environmental issues.

The complex entry criteria for each virtual town included fostering biodiversity, optimising water and energy management, improving quality of life and providing solutions to combat climate change. In an additional nod to modern technology and youth culture, a walk-through of each entry was also posted on video streaming and social networking platform, YouTube, by its creator, with the level of public engagement on each entry factoring into the judges’ final decision.

With a full 3D printed model of the winning virtual map set to be delivered as part of the grand prize, Mimaki faced a lengthy and painstaking process to translate the detailed design from a virtual video game format into a workable print model – a process that took a total of 19 hours to complete. Thankfully, Mimaki’s 3DUJ-553 full-colour 3D printer, which is capable of faithfully replicating more than 10 million colours, enabled every intricacy of the design to be 3D printed in full-colour and accurate detail, thanks to machine’s impressive print quality and water-soluble support material, which prevents small detailed parts from breaking during the finishing process. Even the most fragile design elements comprised in the virtual town, such as wind turbines, were 3D printed, enabling Mimaki to create a final model that was entirely true to the creator’s original designs.

Thierry Lim, Area Sales Manager, Mimaki, commented: “As a company that has long been committed to preserving the environment and finding solutions for greener products, it was an honour for us to be part of this competition.

“It has been very inspiring to see so many conscientious and visionary young people engaging with technology to explore environmental solutions and create living spaces with sustainability at their core. To be able to push technology even further and actually bring the participants’ designs to life in front of their eyes is a real privilege – and that is entirely down to the capabilities of the 3DUJ-553. With these young people already devising the kind of innovations that might shape their futures, it is exciting to be able to share with them the cutting-edge advances in 3D printing technology and to provide an insight into the immeasurable possibilities that it might hold for them in years to come.”

Judges named a total of nine winners across four categories: Young Individuals, Young Teams, Adult and Professional Teams, and Educational Projects, as well as an ‘Audience Prize’ and overall ‘Special Jury Prize’ – with the overall winner, Louis Varin, aged just 16.

Agnès Petit, Chef de projet digital, Ministère de la Cohésion des territoires, added: “This competition was about giving people the opportunity to think about society’s challenges. Part of the key to its success has been the fact that Minecraft is a fun platform that is widely enjoyed, particularly by young people, and it provided an engaging way for them to share their visions about the future of their cities.”

Mimaki is exclusively distributed in the UK and Ireland by Hybrid Services and the company has a wide range of 3D printed full colour samples available to view at its Cheshire showroom.

For further information about products and services from Mimaki, visit

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