Tag Archives: Jewelry

Symbols + Science = Jewelry Styles for All

Looking to revamp your jewelry collection?  Symbols are one way to make a statement without going overboard.  They also lend as great conversation pieces for history buffs, trendsetters, and Biochem masters alike.  Our community across the globe has designing symbols down to an art and we’re showing you the creations you don’t want to miss. 

As the masterminds behind Shapeways shop somersault1824, Belgium designers Idoya and Luk make science look sleek. Their minimalist necklaces are perfect for channeling your inner lab geek and make for surprising, sweet gifts.

625x465_11367918_7383135_1459342067

Phi pendant from somersault1824

There is more than meets the eye with Phi! This letter is the basis for the Golden Ratio, a principle frequently found math and science which can be dated back to sacred architecture and art.  Another important fact to know: Products from somersault1824  support science education. For every pendant sold, the designers invest $5 of the profit in educational resources for scientists, students and teachers with the aim to make these resources available to everyone. Read more about the cause here.

astrocyte pendant

Neuron pendant from somersault1824

625x465_11298200_2806173_1459341313

DNA pendant from somersault1824

If you like this double helix, you may want to experiment with spirals from other Shapeways shops.  Just don’t get it twisted!  Instead, wear the Twisted Pendant by Jaacov Molcho, one of our featured designers in Sparks Across the Globe.

We also love the pendants Antonios Bliss of Athens, Greece created. His designs reflect a modern adaptation of symbols rooted in native New Mexico.

625x465_10023640_2276494_1459338103

Native America Zia Sun Symbol Jewelry Pendant from Symbolica.

Any idea what the four parts of this pendant might represent?  Here’s a hint: up to twenty different meanings can be found in total. Read more about the multifaceted design here and discover other fascinating symbols in Symbolica.

Be sure to check out other jewelry designers on Shapeways to find the symbol that suits you and explore all the beautiful options for everyday wear.

Sparks Across the Globe

Sparks Across the Globe Main

“Creating things local for a global village is fascinating.”

– FWPompe, Amsterdam, Netherlands

satg-card-anna-ruiter
satg-card-edward-simpson
satg-card-dain-penman
satg-card-sho-tachibana
satg-card-rukmani-thangam
satg-card-katerina-kamprani

This August we leave the shores of America to celebrate creativity around the globe. Here at Shapeways, you have personal access to thousands of local artists from every corner of the world who fuel creativity on our platform through sharing their unique experiences and products.

Our inventors, designers, artists, mathematicians, and engineers share their passions for technology and new materials as they bring their “abstract minds” (as one community member said) to the physical world to make their friends smile. We are proud of our commitment to providing you with a comprehensive platform offering that not only enables making and distribution of products globally, but also gives our community permission to become their own global brands.

The “sparks” of inspiration shared this month will continue to show the immense passion and breadth of creativity made tangible by digital manufacturing as we share stories, puzzles, jewelry, and miniatures like you have never seen before.  We are equally enthused by the way our global community has elevated Shapeways to be a truly universal platform by inviting others to join their causes. Kjeld Pedersen Junior from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil creates playful products with purpose: “I’m inspired to create cute lively animals which are endangered species from the Amazon jungle so that the new generation and ours know about them and therefore value them, so they remain roaming the jungle for centuries to come!”

Kjeld Pedersen

Globally accessible creation allows us to open our minds, take a walk in someone else’s shoes, and come home (metaphorically or physically) even more inspired than we were before. There has never been a better time to adventure beyond your usual stomping grounds and set your sights on Sweden, Brazil, India, Australia and beyond.

satg-card-eric-chan
satg-card-alberto-zanella
satg-card-jaacov-molcho
satg-card-splinter-spierenburgh
satg-card-robert-esperi
satg-card-tim-eyes

Find a local designer in a country you have always dreamed of visiting or want to return to someday in our Sparks Across the Globe map.  Follow your favorites on Shapeways so you will always know when they have added more creations or start making wish lists for the holidays. Personal and thoughtful gifts from local artists and inventors are meaningful in two ways – to the gift recipient and to the artist you personally supported.

We hope you enjoy the global journey this month! Happy Making!

America’s Most Beloved Cities, Wrapped Around Your Finger

Posted by in Fashion

Whether you’re from San Francisco, New York, Detroit, or Atlanta – these contemporary rings are made for representing your favorite city, no matter where you are.

Whether or not you’re from Bahston Boston, these wickedly amazing cityscape rings by Shekhtwoman let you wear your city around your finger. And if you’re a transplant from another city, her collection includes major metropolitan areas around the world such as NYC, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and MORE.

Cities1

Maybe your fingers can’t hold anymore bling because you’ve totally stocked up on rings that show off who YOU are. If the Rock N’ Roll hall of fame or Orioles get you excited, 3by3D has an excellent way to let you subtly show off your favorite city.

Cities2

We also love her whimsical jewelry stands and wall art.  Five Bikes: Wire Wall Art is a great gift for any bike lover and also makes for an easy fix if your walls need a little sprucing up, especially if you live in Amsterdam :).

Cities3

What’s your favorite city?

More by 3by3D

More by Shekhtwoman

Nautical by Nature

Posted by in Jewelry

Hey, sailor!  There’s no better way to usher in the summer sunshine than with nautical-inspired goods for your everyday style and home. Don’t let these finds pass you like ships in the night.

How to Wear Your Plants

Posted by in Fashion, Jewelry

Running out of room for teeny plants in your tiny house? Fashion has come to your rescue! Artists all over the world are reimagining the boring clay pot planter as wearable art in the latest trend that brings jewelry to the intersection of nature and technology.

Here’s 5 ways to work the wearable planter trend:

If flowers could talk the Little Earring Planter by Yelet wouldn’t be quite so wearable, but thankfully our floral friends are the pretty and silent type. Add tiny real flowers like cherry blossoms, or short dried lavender sprigs. For a bolder pop of color that won’t wilt after a long day of wear add tiny bright silk flowers.

Planter2

You’re already wearing Google Glass, so you’re no stranger to being an explorer, making your own trends. The GlassKap Wearable Planter by Baltimore will help keep you planted while your head is flying high on the next big thing.

Planter5

According to artist Colleen Jordan diamonds are “so last century” so swap the rock for a tiny bit of soil and plant. Thinking your wearable greenery might clash with yellow? No worries. The Icosahedron Planter Ring is available in white, purple, red and more.

Planter1

3d printed in durable nylon Wearable Planter No. 3 by Colleen Jordan is watertight – perfect for those looking for true planter functionality. Add soil, small succulent plant and a cotton or leather cord for an eco-chic look that will have people asking- “Is that really a..”

Planter3

All the charm of a bicycle bell- with a little more romance. Add a fresh bouquet to your bike’s handlebars with the Scalloped Bike Planter by Colleen Jordan. It clips right onto your handlebars- no hardware needed.

Planter4

How could this look possibly get any greener? All of these pieces are 3D printed on demand in Long Island City, NY- not gobbling up fossil fuels on a long transatlantic journey and air conditioned warehouse.

If you prefer your planters as home decor, check out our whole line of 3d printed home decor, including unique planters.

See Them Grow

3 Bridesmaid Gifts They’ll Actually Love (And Use)

You’ve asked your bridesmaids to stand up with you on your wedding day because they’re your nearest and dearest. Show your love and appreciation for their lifelong friendship by getting them beautiful bridesmaids gifts they’ll love and wear again and again.

This totally customizable FitBit accessory by Bytten will help you remember the tireless hours filled with sweat, tears and laughter spent leading up to your (or their!) special day.

Fitbit

Kasia Wisniewski’s flower jewelry is rich and delicate in its detail, perfect for them to wear before, during and after the wedding.

Rose

The light that’s produced when you’re all together is unmatched, and this tea light easel by Kimotion can  give their home some illumination even when you’re not all in the same place.

Tealight

You’ve been in each other’s orbits for a long time. Show them that, much like this pendant Quantitative Design created that maps the path of asteroids, your friendships are as vast and profound as the solar system.

Asterioid

NVM Design uses 3D scanning & 3D printing to create jaw-dropping, luxe jewelry

Posted by in Fashion
Photo courtesy of NVM Design.

Photo courtesy of NVM Design.

NVM Design is melding traditional craftsmanship with 3D printing to redefine what’s possible, and the results are beautiful. Founded by Allegra Crespi and Martin Griswold (of Shapeways shop Quantitative Design), NVM creates jewelry using printers and 3D scanners to create forms that would have been impossible to create with traditional methods. Every piece is 3D printed, then hand finished by local artisans in New York City.

For their first collection, Allegra and Martin used lichen, a dry moss which grows on trees and stone, as their core inspiration. Allegra explained, “We gathered the actual lichen from Cold Spring, NY and adapted it to many of our pieces after scanning it and then digitally manipulating it to meet our vision. Our second element is a ‘crystal’ texture we generate with a computer algorithm that replicates, adjusts, and places individual cubes to create a cohesive look.” The textures are incredibly distinct, and achieved without using gems or stones.

Allegra and Martin in their studio. Photo courtesy of NVM Design.

Allegra and Martin in their studio. Photo courtesy of NVM Design.

We sat down with Allegra and Martin to learn more about their process and inspiration.

Can you describe the process you used to make the products, in particular the technology you used? 

Our first collection uses a lot of texture, and we used new technology to help us explore that in a way that would have been hard to do otherwise. 3D scanning and algorithmic 3D modeling helped us generate and modify complicated textures, and 3D printing enabled us to produce it once we had the digital model.

We produced the lichen on our pieces by 3D scanning an actual piece of lichen that we took from the forest in upstate NY, which we then digitally modified and incorporated into the pieces. We made the crystal texture with the help of python scripting in Rhino, programming thousands of operations that ran automatically based on a set of rules that we controlled. This let us explore a lot of different versions of the crystal texture until we got it just right, without having to manually compose each one.

3D Printed Jewelry

3D render for the first collection. Photo courtesy of NVM Design.

How do you balance artisanal and digital methods?

Both of us came to jewelry with very limited knowledge of how it’s made or how to make it, so we did our best to fill in the gaps by learning a lot from jewelers.

At the same time our lack of institutional knowledge proved to be so liberating. We began looking at 3D printing and other technology as the solution to most of the jewelry-related obstacles we’d encounter. We ended up taking the best of what we learned from jewelers and using new tech to rebuild it, adapt it, or simply suit it to our needs. Some of it worked, some didn’t, but we came to relish the learning process and the balance we struck between the two.

Photo courtesy of NVM Design.

Photo courtesy of NVM Design.

What materials did you 3D print in?

We produce our pieces by 3D printing in wax, and then casting those wax patterns into 14k yellow or rose gold and silver. We’ve also gotten a lot of use out of 3D printing through Shapeways in White, Strong & Flexible for early prototypes.

How did 3D printing fit into your creative process? Did it help you iterate more quickly?

Our company is based on the premise of exploration and collaboration, which extends to both the conceptual and practical elements of our work. As we developed on our creative themes, we settled on our technical outlets. Our use of 3D printing extends past the final product- we use it throughout our process: to make prototypes early on, to communicate ideas with our suppliers, and to make customized tools that help with assembly.

3D Printed Jewelry

Photo courtesy of NVM Design.

Blown away? We are! Follow their amazing work and process on Instagram. Orders can be make on www.nvmdesign.co.

Love in 3D: From Wedding Contest Winners to Newlyweds

Just in time for Valentine’s Day we caught up with Bastiaan and Alicia Ekeler, the winners of our Love in 3D wedding contest from earlier this year. They 3D printed their wedding bands and gifts for the wedding party and we wanted to catch up with them to hear about their special day and what they have been making since!

3D printed wedding rings

How did you design your 3D printed wedding rings? What inspired you to put your finger prints on the inside of the bands?

I designed the rings using Photoshop and Rhinoceros 3D. I have a background in industrial design so I am very familiar with these software packages. Rhino has been my favorite 3D modeling tool for a long time and was the perfect candidate for this project. The rings started with an ink pad, an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper, a lot of fingerprints and a scanner. The scanned image was prepared in Photoshop and converted into a 3D surface in Rhino. I modelled the rest of the ring around the fingerprint relief and exported the whole thing to STL. There was a lot of experimentation to get all the variables right but the whole process worked pretty well.

The idea of using fingerprints stems from the inherent capability for 3D printing to customize any product. Even without having won the contest, it was clear to me that our wedding rings would have to be unique and personal. No off-the-shelf design would do. Fingerprints seemed pretty unique and personal and the finger has an innate connection with the ring to begin with. They were an ideal match to be brought to life using additive manufacturing. So, the idea was born to have my left ring finger’s print embedded in my wife’s ring and vice-versa.

You might be interested to know that we have actually decided to start offering custom designed rings on Shapeways! We like ours so much that we feel we should share the design with the world and opened out first Shapeways store.

Did you 3D print any special favors for the bridesmaids and groomsmen?

Yes, we actually did design gifts for the members of our wedding party. For the bridesmaids, we created a tiny little infinity symbol, loosely modeled after a precisely curved twig. It is a little hard to see from the picture but the pendant has some knots and imperfections on it, making it a little more organic than mathematical. I even went into Zbrush and textured the outside to mimic tree bark, although this detail got polished out in the finishing process. It is always hard to resist the temptation of getting lost in modeling details when zoomed in 1000% on a 1cm wide model. The infinity symbol was chosen for it’s obvious marriage / friendship related symbolism and the branch element was based on the outside, farmhouse wedding location.

3D printed wedding favors neckalce

For the groomsmen, all high school friends of mine, I designed a pair of cufflinks with the logo we’ve been using since college to symbolize our group. I will leave the interpretation of the abbreviation as a exercise to the reader.

3D printed wedding favors cufflinks groomsmet

Now that you are married, have you designed anything together to commemorate your wedding or your time together since?

We haven’t done any 3D modeling together since the wedding but I would like to share one last Shapeways item we had made: a cake topper. We went through a lot of designs for this but in the end decided to keep it pretty simple and elegant, matching those same qualities of the cake itself. Yet another use for the white, strong an flexible nylon!

3D printed wedding cake topper

Can you share one piece of advice for newlyweds or couples who are about to get married?
I don’t know if we’re really in a position to be giving out advice as fresh newlyweds. From our short experience, I’m afraid I can only talk in clichés, so here we go: Never take each other for granted, pick your battles and always keep communicating.

Thank you again for allowing us to have the best wedding we could have had through the power of 3D printing!

wedding 3D printed

Bastiaan + Alicia Ekeler

Congratulations again, Bastiaan and Alicia! For our lovebirds out there, what do you plan on 3D printing for your sweetheart?  

 

Time-IT Watch: How 3D printing can drive innovation in wearable tech

Posted by in Fashion

Time-IT watch has produced a new watch series using Shapeways to print the watch cases in bronze. I talked with Ramon Groen, the company’s founder, about his company and how 3D printing is helping to push the boundaries of product development and wearable tech.

3D printed watch, wearable tech

Please introduce yourself. What is your background and what inspired you to create Time-IT watch?

My name is Ramon Groen and I have been entrepreneurial since the start of the new millennium. I made career at a former Philips division and in 2004 I founded my own company, TIME-IT watch. We had the idea of creating a watch never seen before – a LED display with linear time reading system that we hoped could change perception of time. TIME-IT watch company ( http://timeitwatch.com/about) specializes in designer LED watches even received a design award in Paris in 2006. I’m proud to say that TIME-IT is one of the mayor players in the niche market for designer LED watches worldwide.

What was your design and iteration process like?

When we started the company we had to start from scratch. We had to build a non-existing technology and it took us lots and lots time to send samples back and forth to one another. It was an intense iteration process and took about two years to have our first watch ready that worked really well.

3D printed watch wearable tech

Limited edition watch with cover printed by Shapeways

How did 3D printing enable you to bring this idea to life?

We always want to experiment with new designs, techniques and materials. Based on our experience in the development and production of watches and having acces to a 3d printer we decided to make some prototypes just around the corner of our office in Amsterdam. We got so excited with the outcome and were surprised with the speed of this new design and iteration proces that we decided to send a 3d]D design to Shapeways to see how a high quality 3D print would look and whether it would be good enough to use as end product. The result was mind blowing! We decided to launch our first limited watch series of 200 watches with the case printed in in bronze metal by Shapeways.

In your opinion, how do you feel 3D printing is enabling and empowering product designers?

I think 3d printing is the future for product designers. it’s a great way to get to the best design in a short time, no expensive moulds or tooling is needed, practically you make a product at ‘no cost.’

Want to find more wearable tech? Check out other innovative accessories and gadgets printed with Shapeways!

Win 3D Printed Jewelry from Shapeways

Calling all jewelry lovers! We’ve teamed up with some of our wonderful designers to host not one but two contests this month.

Daily Facebook Giveaway:

We are giving away 10 amazing pieces of jewelry on Facebook! Visit our Facebook page each weekday through the end of September for a chance to win. We want to spread the word about our incredible designers, so all we’re asking is that you “like” our posts. Check back each day to see the newest giveaway!

Pin Your Favorite Jewelry on Pinterest:

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 3.31.01 PM

Our designers are getting ready for fall and the holidays, so we want to see what inspires you for the season. Pin your favorite fall jewelry from Shapeways and beyond for a chance to win $500 of your Shapeways picks!

How to enter:
  1. Create a Pinterest Board titled “Fall Finds”

  2. Pin at least 10 fall flavored accessories by September 30, 2014

    • At least 5 must be Shapeways products (your prize, if you win!)

    • Tag each pin #ShapewaysJewelryContest

Prizes:

Five (5) winners will be selected! Winners will receive their Shapeways pinned products, up to $500 in value. If you pin more than $500 of Shapeways products, we will work with you to select your prize products.

Don’t know where to start? Check out some of our favorite 3D printed jewelry in gold, sterling silver, stainless steel, and even colorful nylon plastic.

3D Printed Rings

625x465_1284684_1299653_1379114652

Repeat Offfender Logo Ring by RepeatOfffender. See more unique rings in Gold, Sterling Silver, or Gold Plated Brass.

3D Printed Pendants

625x465_173988_112278_1338413386

Silver Shell Pendant by aeron203. See more unique pendants in Sterling Silver, Gold Plated Brass, or Stainless Steel.

3D Printed Bracelets

625x465_2051971_3869499_1409250533

Lines Bracelet by geekprints. See more unique bracelets in Sterling Silver, Gold Plated Brass, Stainless Steel, or Nylon Plastic.

3D Printed Earrings

625x465_1940514_3870246_1407788504

Pinwheel Earrings by JoyComplex. See more unique 3D printed earrings.

3D Printed Cufflinks

625x465_222757_2632933_1405577032

Lieutenant Bar Cufflinks by bluelinegecko. See more unique 3D printed cufflinks.

3D Printed Necklaces

625x465_2007222_3466071_1404860672

‘Flourish’ Pendant by seanmcharg. See more unique 3D printed necklaces.

The Fine Print: If your Shapeways products cannot be successfully 3D printed, we will work with you to select alternative prize products. Shapeways employees and their families are not eligible to win. Contests end September 30, 2014.

Conversation with designer Ning Hua about launching a 3D printed jewelry business

Interview by Xiaoxiao Zhang, Shapeways Crew member and founder of MCreatures, a 3D printing shop in Shanghai.

When Ninghua first got to know 3D printing through an article in Time magazine he was not yet a designer. Inspired by the possibilities of 3D printing he followed his passion and is now a jewelry designer with a shop on Shapeways and his website Plain Orb, featuring pieces that infuse his signature clean style with traditional elements of nature, Chinese patterns, and Catholic symbolism.

Ning Hua

Ning Hua

So, Ninghua, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Well, I am from Fujian (a province in South China) and now working in Ningbo. I grew up in a small town. Not like in big cities, the life there is so close to nature. And nature has become one of my main design inspirations.

Another major source of inspiration for me is my religion. My family is Catholic and my religion has guided me, so I incorporated Catholic symbols such as PX or the fish sign in my designs as they are of special meaning to me.

As I Chinese designer, I also love to use patterns from traditional Chinese art to give my design some personality. For example, the Xiaozhuan font from Chinese calligraphy and the ice-breaking pattern from ancient Chinese wood window frame design. My habit is to keep the essence of those and give it a clean and simple presentation. Many of my non-Chinese customers love the idea.

How about your educational background?

My major in university was English, nothing to do with design or 3D printing, and got into international trade field later on. Working in this trade company got me to realize that the manufacturing industry of China is growing weaker and less competitive on the global stage since we are not good at producing our own original designs. Thus, it makes products “Made in China” less valuable. I believe design is at the core of mass production. However, many times my I was not able to execute my ideas for products through traditional manufacturing. 3D printing is different because I can make an idea into a real product without too much hassle or cost. This makes me think 3D printing is capable to inspire individuals to design more incredible things.

BingLie Bottle Opener designed by Ning Hua

BingLie Bottle Opener designed by Ning Hua

How did you know about 3D printing and why did you want to make it as your own business?

I first learnt about 3D printing from an article on Time magazine, and it was about Shapeways! I was quite bored at work one day and was reading Time magazine. This article popped out and I felt overwhelmed, though also a little bit confused, about this new technology called 3D printing.

The concept itself is so cool to ignore. It is called printing, but it is nothing like printing on paper. In addition, a product could be produced without using a traditional mold sounds attractive. At the time I was working on a start-up and was looking for some a unique product to launch. No mold, no stock, small investment, all these features of making 3D printing products sound like an appealing way to manufacture my future products.

I studied what material can be used for 3D printing, its basic cost, and what software I could use. After understanding this concept rationally, I decided that entering into the 3D printing field and make it my business was do-able for me. I opened my online store selling jewelry even if most of my friends around me who had heard of the 3D concept consider the idea new, bizarre and irrelevant. Now, of course, I am very glad that I did trust my own gut and started my 3D path.

BingLie or "cracking ice" pattern has been used as a window pattern in China for over 600 years. Photo by Ning Hua.

BingLie or “cracking ice” pattern has been used as a window pattern in China for over 600 years. Photo by Ning Hua.

What was the first 3D product you designed?

It was a leaf-shape USB port cover. It was the very first product I designed and produced after I intensively studied industrial design for 2 months from level 0. But it did not sell very well.

When did you start to design jewelry?

After the USB port cover, I was struggling to decide if I should mainly design products that are more practical or fancier and more decorative. After the testing of a few prototypes, and inspired by a few other designers on Shapeways, I finally decided to put my focus on jewelry. The main reasons jewelry became a desirable business focus for me are: 1) the cost of 3D print is still not cheap and my clients generally find the high price is more acceptable if the product is jewelry. 2) Jewelry can always be a piece of meaningful gift to oneself or to others and people can wear them for a long time.

Xiao Zhuan cufflinks based on a popular font in ancient China from 2000 years ago

Xiao Zhuan cufflinks based on a popular font in ancient China from 2000 years ago

What are the difficulties when running your 3D print jewelry store all by yourself?

At this stage, I am doing everything by myself. I worked out lot of things by myself, my website, how to use design software, etc. And my business volume still allows me to do that.

In this business, the challenging part for me is marketing and promoting my products effectively. I am working on using the social media channels such as Instagram to promote my products to more of my target customers. I need to figure different channels to reach Chinese customers and international ones as their habit of using social media is difficult. It’s important to use social media to convey the the quality of 3D print jewelry and build trust if customers have never seen a 3D product before.

What has exceeded your expectations?

My design. When I started to learn 3D design from scratch and I was not even sure how the final product would look. I kept improving my models with more and more test products so I got more experienced. Now I do think a lot of my designs have exceeded my original expectations.

Do you have tips for other people who are fascinated by 3D printing and want to make their own products from scratch like you?

Very simple. Your design shall always represent no one else but you. Your own design and your style will remembered by the market.

 

Cirphering.me: Creating interactive 3D printed jewelry

Posted by in API, Interview, Jewelry

Jussi Ängeslevä is the creator of Ciphering, which is part of a research project project of Berlin University of the Arts and the Technical University Berlin, which is using scientific methods to explore the role of rapid manufacturing, like 3D printing, in product creation. The ring uses the Shapeways API to create beautiful rings with hidden number messages that you can see when you take the ring off your finger and shine a light through it. As the Ciphering is part of the research process its only available for a short time – until December 31, 2014.

ciphering1 Introduce yourself. What is your background and what inspired you to create Ciphering?

I’m an interaction designer juggling my time between academia and industry, creating experiences in fantastically different scales. My role as Vice Creative Director at Design Studio ART+COM keeps me busy with creating larger public space experiences, ranging from museums to public art commissions. In parallel, as a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, we are looking at the impact of digital technologies and “computational thinking” in everyday life. In both contexts, the meaning of interactivity, code and digital is increasingly shifting to physical world, where creating experiences with mechatronics, robots doing things designed by some complex algorithm, or where the physical form and the digital behavior cannot be separated anymore, as the programming takes place in both.

“Ciphering” is a generative jewelry, where the customer can encode 4 digits to the physical structure of the ring, which can be decoded when shining light through it, or when aligning the ring just right, and looking through the pattern. The project is a part of a larger research effort at the Berlin University of the Arts, where we are currently working on a research project called “Beyond Prototyping.” Together with the Technische Universität Berlin, we are trying to find the sweetspot between atelier service and mass manufacturing, and find out what aspects of design makes sense to leave open for the customer to decide. So, in the case of Ciphering, the idea is that the designer defines the aesthetics of the form but the customer decides the four important digits that then define the physical shape of the ring.

Ciphering-18c4bd67

What was your design and iteration process like?

We did a lot of iterations with the design, where the initial ideas were based around using caustic reflections that could be decoded with focussed light source. These studies took place purely in software, and the first test print through Shapeways showed the physical limits with surface smoothness and resolution, and we shifted to using shadow casting as the carrier. With a quick iterative loop we designed different pattern languages for encoding text to the ring surfaces, and printed them in larger scale with a MakerBot that is sitting at our studio. When the over sized prototypes showed promise of success, we ordered lot of different material samples of the rings through Shapeways. With these results, we then decided the final wall thicknesses, the material choices and edge roundings. We also decided to limit the content that the customer can encode to four digits only, as we realized that only by strict limits, we could provide the aesthetics right, and with pixel fonts you can only do so much.

3D printing was essential to realize this project. These computational shapes would be very difficult to produce manually. Especially, as every single ring will be different. Actually, the project is still very much on-going, because for the research project, my ultimate question is to understand the “aura of the digitally fabricated.” What is it in these artifacts that differentiate them from the handmade or the mass manufactured? Ciphering is trying to give one tangent to this, by having people be part of the meaning-making, by encoding their own special numbers in the shape but we as designers still control the overall aesthetic. If people are interested in the ring, I would like to ask them few months later, how they feel about it, what will it end up meaning.

Can you tell me more about the the research project between the Berlin University of the Arts and the Technical University Berlin that Ciphering is part of? What is the focus of this project and what else are you working on?

We have an organization between the two Universities called Hybrid Plattform which tries to facilitate transdisciplinary projects. Our collaboration “Beyond Prototyping” is one such things, enabled by generous funding from Einstein Stiftung. In this project we are looking at how things can be designed partially algorithmically, and partially with an in-depth knowledge of the materials and manufacturing processes, and then apply them to different fields, where the end-user can be part of the creation, therefore having a stronger sense of agency about the final outcome. The work falls somehow under the trendy “mass-customization” but we are trying to push the customization much more to the meaning, not only focussing on the optimization with sizing, or choosing random parameters like colors of different parts of a design.

Another case we have almost ready as a service is an oak table, where we use openstreetmap to let the customer define the meaning of the table. You can see a software prototype at locatable.me ,but it’s not quite ready yet.

Designer Spotlight: Austin Robey

This weeks designer spotlight features Brooklyn based designer Austin Robey. Take a look at his shop and tell us you don’t want to hold all the emojis in your very own hands. He’s also made awesome iPhone cases of popular NYC and Brooklyn neighborhoods, so you and your emojis will never get lost again!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
My name is Austin Robey and am located in Brooklyn, NY. I have an academic background in architecture, a professional background in designing jewelry and accessories, and now have a studio called Make Mode, which helps people realize fun and inventive product ideas through digital design and 3D printing. As a side project from our 3D design services, we wanted to make a Shapeways store of some fun products we designed. It’s also called Make Mode.

austinrobeyupdatedheadshot

Continue reading