Forget about the magic of unwrapping a bar of chocolate Charlie Bucket oh-so-dearly held in his hands in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” It is time to push the “print” button of the “Magic Candy Factory,” and voila! Gummies will start dropping out right in front of your eyes.
|Avoid stool, 2014 (jannekyttanen.com)|
Katjes, a German manufacturer of jellies and candies, unveiled a 3-D candy printer early last month fully demonstrating how 3-D printers, previously reserved for prototypes or molds in the food industry, can be actually put to use for retail.
First conceived in the 1980s, 3-D printing or additive manufacturing basically creates three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file by building it in a great many extremely thin layers.
|United Nude x 3D Systems' "Coral" shoes|
|Avoid lamp, 24k gold plated (jannekyttanen.com)|
Always striving to stay at the forefront of trends, fashion has already adopted the technology, as shown by Julian Hakes during the London Fashion Week last month. The architect and fashion designer sent out models in shoes “printed out” of a 3-D printer. The shoes did not only look normal per se, but it took him less than three days to have his designs realized.
|Sofa so Good|
Finnish designer Janne Kyttanen, one of the pioneers of 3-D printing, showed how our necessities ― clothes, bags and shoes, for starters ― could be compressed into a file to be reproduced anywhere with his “Lost Luggage” project last year.
And Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook’s former marketing chief (and yes, the sister of its founder Mark) and a digital mogul in her own right, readily agrees. She might be fiercely advocating “unplugging” and “detoxing” from our increasingly tech-driven lives, but her line of thinking is completely in line with Kyttanen as she counts 3-D printing as one of her top 10 favorite tech trends. “I can even imagine a world in the future when you don’t have to pack luggage ... you just arrive and email yourself a few files and off you go with all your stuff,” she said.
|Sedona bench and tables|
The range of physical objects that could be materialized by 3-D printing is not limited to fashion and confectionary, fiber and sugar solutions being relatively easy-to-manipulate ingredients.
A design team at MIT last month succeeded in developing a 3-D printing platform that could create optically transparent glass structures. (A selection of the glass objects made through the printing process will be on exhibit at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum next year.)
|Book packaging for "Yves Saint Laurent" by Roxanne Lowit (jannekyttanen.com)|
In Amsterdam, a team of architects has been building one of the world’s first full-sized 3-D printed houses, and larger-scale projects are under way across Europe. Some are expected to contribute to solving dwelling problems immigrants would face.
As Kyttanen said, 3-D printing is already a part of our lives and will be even more so in the near future. It can be an effective tool in terms of cost, time and materials, but what makes it much more attractive is how 3-D printing offers choices.
Reducing production time from one hour to 10 minutes surely is a significant change for a company, but as Melissa Snover of Katjes’ U.K. subsidiary said, the biggest shift would be the ability of personalization and customization.
The Magic Candy Factory machine already offers 12 shapes and 10 colors and flavors, but it is just a beginning. “Being able to create unique products ... and make it just for you” fills the basic human need to feel important, she noted.
Kyttanen and Zuckerberg will share their views on design and lifestyle at Herald Design Forum 2015. The forum will be held at the Grand Hyatt Seoul on Nov. 10, under the theme “Design Platform Adds Value through Integration.”
By The special report team (email@example.com)