This week, we focus our designer spotlight on Hong Chen, a relatively new Shapie with a shop that we can’t help but love. From abstract jewelry and fun iPhone cases to fossils rendered in metal, we’re sure you will enjoy watching her shop grow as much as we have.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
My name is Hong Chen, and I live in San Francisco Bay Area. Before I moved to the U.S. four years ago, I had been working as a licensed architect for more than ten years in China. I’ve completed dozens of architectural designs in large scale, and I love designing things in small scale too, such as jewelry and gadgets. Now I started my own design studio, Muse Inspiration, which is focused on fashion accessories and home decoration designs by utilizing 3D modeling and 3D printing technology.
What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
Most of my designs are inspired by the nature, for example, plants, flowers, marine creature, birds, and so on. I can find beautiful forms and patterns from nature, but instead of simply imitating them, I try to reinterpret the beauty in my own words. For the Nautilus Shell earrings design, I focused on the detail surface texture on the spiral shell, and for the rose jewelry set design, I presented the elegance of the flower in a modern and abstract way.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I tried 3D printing for the first time in 2010. It was a course project when I was in AAU for the Master’s Degree of Architecture. We had to present a 3D printed final model, and our instructor told us Shapeways is the best choice. I still remember how excited I was when I opened the package from The Netherlands and got my very first 3D printed model, sea anemone sculpture. I also had my thesis presentation model completed from Shapeways in 2012. Since then, I’ve been exploring more and more with 3D printing.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I learned a lot of 3D designing software for my past work and education experiences, including 3ds Max, Rhino, Autocad, Sketchup and Revit.
How do you promote your work?
I post my new designs on Muse Inspiration’s Facebook page, and on Wechat which is the most popular social network in China. I also have a shop on Etsy to sell the finished items that have been printed out.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
My favorite designer is Zaha Hadid, the Pritzker Prize-winning female architect. She’s known not only for her radically innovative buildings, but also for many furniture, footwear, jewelry and lighting designs. In the Shapeways community, many creative designers inspire me a lot. INNERLEAF is a very impressive one among them. The footwear designs are so amazing with the futuristic style and organic forms.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Buildings! I know that some experimental architects have been trying to do so, but there are still a lot of technical difficulties to overcome in order to achieve a fully 3D printed building.
What is your favorite Saturday activity?
I’d like to go to local museums to see some new exhibitions, for example, fine art, photography, architecture, and performing art, etc. The SFMOMA and de Young Museum are my favorite places where to spend a weekend afternoon.