Designer Spotlight: Roman Vlahovic

This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Roman Vlahovic, a duo blending research in architecture and design into generative jewelry.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located? 

We are Miro Roman and Luka Vlahovic, together forming Roman Vlahovic, and we are architects currently living and working in Zagreb and Singapore. 

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

I am trying to question design through stories inspired by information technologies. For example, what was once the design of a perfect unique object featuring specific materiality is today the design of a population of objects featuring any materiality. Instead of a specific object, the designer creates an algorithm. Elitism and exceptionalism contained in the idea of a singular object (e.g. golden ring) is replaced by the `individual populism` of generative objects. While traditional jewelry design is characterized by uniqueness, hand-craft and noble materials, contemporary jewelry making relies on mass production and synthetic materials. Generative ring design merges the qualities of both by digitally producing the jewelry for the 21st century. 

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways? 

The possibility of designing a whole population of objects of an unlimited diversity, and the possibility of designing in any material. Today, the generative system design enables the imposition of materiality to the object. The choice of material has so far served as the basis for determining the design process, defining the expected execution of details, conjunctions and textures. Today, the generative system design enables the imposition of materiality to the object. The form, uncomplimentary to certain material, can now be attached to it by mere use of intellectual control. Therefore, the objects can be rendered into reality via 3D printing. Materiality is the last, almost arbitrary, decision done by a designer. 

Who are your favorite designers or artists? 

Here  I  would  like  to  refer  to  people  like  Francois  Roche,  Hernan  Diaz  Alonso or Louise Bourgeois, and Chapman brothers who are doping their work with narratives which are crucial for today’s understanding of design. In the Shapeways community, I like the work ofNervous System. Although their approach is drawing inspiration from natural phenomena, my work, driven by a similar setup, is more interested in cultural consequences and ideas.

How did you learn how to design in 3D? 

Through personal education and curiosity. 

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing? 

Information technologies have opened up a number of new ways of thinking about the world and the object. When you ask an architect what would he like to 3D print with no limitations of technology or scale, the obvious and most basic answer would be a house. Throughout education we were simply programed to think that way. Algorithmic – generative design and digital production techniques are powerful platforms for designing ideas and objects. 3D printing is one way of rendering those ideas. Let’s  play and see how far we can go!

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

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