Designer Spotlight: Igor Knezevic

This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Igor Knezevic, an award winning Architectural and Film Concept Designer based in Los Angeles, CA. He focuses on digital making processes, as well as on film concept design. He has worked in the Art Departments of movies such as “X-Men”, “Oblivion”, “RIPD”, the new “Robocop” remake and more.

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you? 

I always try to make a set of rules first. If you make good choices of a few simple rules when designing an object you are already 75% done. We all are now using 3D CG tools, and that gives you amazing freedom to create any form imaginable, but unlimited freedom can be bad for the design process. Constraints and discipline can make a design simpler and more elegant and certainly more “focused” on its purpose. If my object makes you CURIOUS in any way, even for just a brief moment, I consider that a success for me. It is that emotional connection that I think is very important for the future of design.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

It is through Shapeways that I first realized what can be done with high end SLS machines and nylon plastic as well as 3D printed metals. I was amazed by the possibilities and I design lot of my objects with these material properties in mind. Also, Shapeways definitely was affordable compared to any other providers. I started using Shapeways very early on and it completely changed my design process.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I have been doing 3D CG for years. I am an architect by education and profession and I started out doing 3D architectural renderings with 3D studio R1 for DOS back in 1992. These were the days, man! Your iPod has (probably) more powerful hardware specs than what we had back then. Then I got interested in different kinds of 3D design, parametric and algorithmic design. I find tools such as Grasshopper and Processing to be amazing for design discoveries.  
How do you promote your work?

Well, I have been doing your usual Web stuff, like Facebook, Twitter and blogging, but the attention span on the internet is very short and promoting yourself is like a full-time job. I had no idea! I only show on my website (or store) photos of real objects. No CG renderings, there’s too much of that out there. It is ironic because I do CG for living. So, as it turns out now, I sell mostly through retail shops in California. About two years ago I partnered with two friends and formed a company in Hong Kong called IXISM, specifically for accessing the Asian market.

Who are your favorite designers or artists? 

I was lucky enough to live and study in Vienna, Austria for several years. There was a design movement in that city from 1902 – 1932 called Wiener Werkstaette. This to me was an amazing fusion of art, craft and design. Stunning! I hope 3D printing can bring something like that collaboration back to present day design. Within the Shapeways community Nervous System, Michael Cornelissen and Virtox all make just amazing work. 
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?

I am waiting for the day to come when we can do 3D printing on a micro and nano scale so then you go and create not only a form, but also the material properties and how it behaves … imagine foamy, spongy, gnarly materials… and somehow get graphene into the mix. This is going to get crazy. I hope to live to see that!

Anything else you want to share?

Like all other classic materials and processes for design, 3D printing has its own “language” and “character”. What I am mostly interested in are designs that really use what’s new here….and impossible to do with other methods of making. In other words, I am not so interested in “rapid prototyping” but in the “new aesthetic”. There is so much to explore.

Check out Igor’s Shapeways Shop, see more of his designs on his website, and if you’d like to be the next featured designer, email natalia@shapeways.com.