From fixing fridges to engineering a full-scale motorbike from scratch, the possibilities of three-dimensional printing are endless. And thanks to Ludovic Fontaine’s ingenious 3D printing innovations, guests at Hotel d’Angleterre are gifted with thoughtful, personalised treasures throughout the year. Here, the hotel’s self-taught technical specialist divulges his most inventive projects to date, as well as his ambitions for the future. Think custom-shaped cookies and 3D printers being used to print even more 3D printers…
Ludovic’s passion for 3D printing was ignited last year. After being inspired by a YouTube video, he soon began bringing his own creations to life. “He’s our crazy, talented 3D printer,” says Jean-Vital Domezon, General Manager at Hotel d’Angleterre. “Although he’s more commonly known as the hotel’s doorman and has been for the past six years.”
Sometimes Ludovic’s 3D printing innovations are practical: an iPhone docking station, a fridge door handle, feet for a computer keyboard. On other occasions, he thinks far outside the box. When the time comes for Hotel d’Angleterre to inform guests about the clocks turning forwards or back every spring and autumn, a cookie cutter, designed and printed by Ludovic, is used to produce batches of clock-shaped biscuits. “We have 45 guest rooms, so we need to bake lots of biscuits to let everyone know about the time change,” Jean-Vital tells us. It’s an ingenious collaboration between Ludovic and his brother, Florian, who works as the hotel’s pastry chef.
Known for its luxury watch-making tradition, groups such as Rolex frequently visit Geneva and stay at Hotel d’Angleterre. Ludovic and Florian fashion bespoke watch-shaped bakes featuring the brands’ logo to welcome them. Seasonal festivals such as Halloween inspire Ludovic, too, with his pop-open pumpkins proving a hit last October.
Looking ahead, the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition arrives in Geneva in May and Ludovic is planning something special to celebrate it. “Let’s say someone orders a cappuccino and we know they are at the hotel for the aviation fair— we could present their beverage with a plane dusted in chocolate on top,” muses Ludovic.
The keen hobbyist who collaborates with other tech enthusiasts on larger 3D printing innovations, Ludovic and his network of friends built a one-to-one scale model of a motorbike recently. “Everyone gathered together one weekend to build the epic piece from 68 individually printed parts. However, as everyone prints in their own colour, the result was a multicoloured motorbike,” he laughs. “And who knows what next year will hold—maybe an aeroplane.”
The world of 3D printing has rapidly developed, even since Ludovic entered it. Some pioneers are tapping the technology to print small houses cheaply and efficiently within 48 hours. The process could influence the way small houses are constructed, helping to stamp out homelessness in developing countries.
Now designing a fully customised 3D printer using his current printer, Ludovic is excited about what the future holds. He speaks about one day printing in a material that’s fit for the oven as well as printing with chocolate.
Enjoy ingenious personalised treats courtesy of Ludovic’s 3D printing innovations on a visit to Red Carnation Hotels’ Hotel d’Angleterre.