First-ever 3D-printed biocomposite pipes play in Helsinki Music Centre’s organ

First-ever 3D-printed biocomposite pipes play in Helsinki Music Centre’s organ

Bild: Helsinki Music Centre Foundation, Sakari Röyskö

The new organ of the Helsinki Music Centre will play in a celebratory concert on January 1, 2024. The striking facade pipes of the Rieger organ are the first of their kind, crafted from Finnish, wood-based UPM Formi 3D biocomposite.

The organ features 3D-printed sounding pipes and wind lines totalling 260 meters. With 124 sound registers divided among several different sets of pipes, it is the largest in Finland and Scandinavia, among the largest in Europe, and the largest modern organ placed in a concert hall worldwide.

Helsinki Music Centre's organ is a result of international collaboration. The biocomposite material produced by UPM in Finland was shipped to Burgos, Spain, for 3D printing. Subsequently, the printed pipes were transported to organ builder Rieger Orgelbau in Austria. The organ is initially handcrafted by Rieger Orgelbau, disassembled, shipped in parts to Helsinki, and then reconstructed in the Music Centre's concert hall.

The unique design of the facade pipes necessitated finding suitable material and a reliable, flexible, and cost-effective manufacturing method. The fine cellulose fibres in the biocomposite facilitate large-scale 3D printing, and the material's minimal shrinkage, rapid cooling, and self-sustaining properties enable efficient production of complex elements.

3D-printing generates minimal waste, and the wood-based biocomposite is 100% recyclable. The use of biocomposite in the Music Centre's organs exemplifies the responsible utilization of materials in the art and music world.

Biocomposite inherently possesses acoustic qualities, commonly used, for example, in speaker enclosures.

"The organ sounds magnificent. It's wonderful to open the concert hall to the public and enjoy both the music and the visual experience that our new organ and performers will provide starting from January," says Kaisa Näreranta, Executive Director of the Helsinki Music Centre Foundation and Project Manager of the Organ project.

The Helsinki Music Centre Foundation initiated a naming campaign for the organ pipes, raising funds for organ music, producing organ programs, and events. UPM contributed to the campaign through its Biofore Share and Care program.

"At UPM, we have a long tradition of supporting the arts, and we wanted to participate in the Helsinki Music Centre Foundation's donation campaign. We have named all the fantastic facade pipes of the organ," says Hanna Maula, UPM's Vice President, Communication and Brand.

The new Rieger organ will be inaugurated on New Year's Day, January 1, 2024. The opening concert on the same day will feature Olivier Latry, a concert organist who contributed to the design team of the organ.