Groen and Boothman's Creatures bracelets

Joanna Boothman clearly remembers one of her first communications with Shapeways long ago, laughing as she alludes to positive feedback she received on a questionable ‘try it and print it’ design that actually turned out quite well. Fast forward years later, and the Groen & Boothman team have struck gold—or rather, spectacular innovation in the form of 3D printed bracelets upholstered in luxurious leather.

Groen & Boothman agency for Design & Creative Direction was created in 2019, bringing together combined experience in industrial design, fine art and aeronautical engineering. The hybrid background of Hanno Groen and Joanna Boothman may seem like an unlikely combination to some, but that is certainly not the case within additive manufacturing where users employ a wide range of materials and technologies in art, fashion and jewelry, and quite commonly in critical aerospace applications too. 

On a mission to create extraordinary jewelry and usable art, the designers created a mutable archetype, essentially an animated design that assists in generating 3D structures, as well as merging classic form and function. Groen & Boothman are intent on connecting technology and biology in their recent Creatures Bracelet series (learn more from this case study), emphasizing the naturality of the bracelets, which are lightweight (around 20 grams—or .7 ounces), comfortable, and grasp the arm in a cuff-like fashion.

“Once you put it on your wrist, after about ten seconds you don’t even know it is there,” says Groen.

Creatures bracelet. Photo Credit: Groen & Boothman

There is also a strong focus on making valuable items that are not only sumptuous and deeply comfortable, but will last for many years. In choosing Nylon 12 [Versatile Plastic] for 3D printing, the designers ensure the appropriate amount of strength and durability for their jewelry, which is also still light and tactile.

“3D printing gives us a chance to explore new avenues and get away from the mass production paradigm,” says Boothman, explaining that their work tends to be durable and long-lasting also because they create luxurious, high-quality pieces that encourage continued value by the consumer over the long-term in comparison to cheaper, mass-produced pieces that are often considered disposable.

The Groen & Boothman mission certainly meshes well within the world of 3D printing, a place where we embrace the technology that allows innovators around the world to reach for the stars in a realm of infinite options. For jewelry makers in particular, additive manufacturing offers affordable and fast low-volume production of designs that may not have been possible with conventional technology. Designers who may never had an ‘in’ before are also able to get a foot in the door. Designers can produce their creations without any need for capital as they rely on companies like Shapeways to invest in the hardware, software, and inventory of materials.

Groen and Boothman's creatures bracelet skeletons
Creatures skeletons. Credit: Groen & Boothman

While creativity springs from the mind, 3D printing for consumer products brings those daydreams and sketches to life—and as designers Groen and Boothman point out, the spectacular innovations being fabricated would have indeed caused our design ancestors to marvel.

“In the real, tangible world, everything is always moving. Things are in constant movement, constantly growing and shifting. We wondered how to capture that essence and create a feeling of movement and in so doing even bring a new kind of emotional level to designed objects.”

The bracelets are currently being featured in a high-end Amsterdam boutique. Check out our expanded case study to discover how Groen & Boothman brought their Creatures bracelet series to life by printing with Shapeways.

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