3D printing’s unique convergence of design, technology, and fashion has prompted some high-profile individuals to get involved.
This month, five well-known architects and industrial designers will share their take on printed high-heels at Milan Design Week, working together with United Nude and 3D Systems to turn their visions into finished products. Below, we’ve shared some background on the industry legends involved in this shoe showcase.
Known by many as the queen of architecture, Zaha Hadid’s highly futuristic style can be found in major cities around the world. Most recently, she designed one of the main soccer stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Her abstract, chaotic work has plenty of admirers and critics, but Hadid’s iconic approach makes her a fascinating candidate for 3D printed shoes. “Flames” uses bold curves and pointy edges to form a sleek, dangerous-looking heel that Cruella De Vil might wear.
Industrial designer Ross Lovegrove has had an extremely diverse career, helping to create the Sony Walkman, computers for Apple, furniture, functional sculptures, and much more. Originally from Wales, Lovegrove studied design at the Royal College of Art in London, before working on projects in West Germany and Paris. His entry to the shoe showcase, “Ilabo”, looks like a mint-green curtain draped around the foot. Its vertical lines and bright coloring are sure to garner a few double-takes when walking down the street.
Ben van Berkel
Dutch architect Ben van Berkel has designed a number of high-profile structures, such as the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam. His radical work can also be found outside of Europe, in countries like South Korea, Brazil, and the United States. For his , “UNX2”, van Berkel took an animal’s hoof as a point of inspiration, creating a solid black casing that wraps around the foot. It seems like they might be difficult to walk in, but the sturdy sole and interior construction make for a supportive, comfortable fit.
Working in a range of interrelated disciplines — such as architecture, education, design, and writing — Fernando Romero spent time working at Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture before moving on to design the Casa da Música in Portugal. The young, talented architect has created one of the more striking submissions to Milan Design Week, the ancient “Ammonite” heel. Resembling a mix between a petrified fossil and red coral, the shoe has a porous, spiral pattern that looks like a gorgeous optical illusion.
Finally, the English-born industrial designer Michael Young — now based in Hong Kong — has built his career on functional products, so it’s fascinating to see him make a conceptual high-heeled shoe. In the past, he has designed sleek furniture, bicycles, headphones, and light fixtures, but his “” looks like a bizarre mesh sculpture. Made from layers of interweaving thermoplastic and a nylon sole, Young’s 3D-printed concept looks the least comfortable of the bunch, but looks can be deceiving.
– Guest Post