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[Design Forum] The future that 3-D printing will bring about

Imagine a world where anyone can print out all their travel necessities with just a few digital files, making packing luggage obsolete.

Digital sculpting visionary Janne Kyttanen shook up all that we know about the world of 3-D printing as one of the distinguished speakers at this year’s Herald Design Forum, held at the Grand Hyatt Seoul on Tuesday.

“What if we could make anything we needed at home and recycle all our creations into something new? What if inventory was obsolete? Could transportation of most products be digital?

“We have that technology,” said Kyttanen, creative director of 3D Systems. 

Janne Kyttanen talks 3-D printing and fashion at the Herald Design Forum, held at the Grand Hyatt Seoul on Tuesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Janne Kyttanen talks 3-D printing and fashion at the Herald Design Forum, held at the Grand Hyatt Seoul on Tuesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Kyttanen was the first designer to commercialize high-volume 3-D printed products, including the world’s first 3-D printed lights, footwear, consumer electronics and furniture.

The Finland native said he envisions a future where products would be scaled down into digital files, and a world where tangible product distribution becomes as simple as downloading music from the Internet.

During his lecture titled “3-D Printing and the Fashion Design Revolution,” the visionary shared his insights on digital technology and its potential to completely alter how people view products.

“I never saw products as products. I saw them more as content,” said Kyttanen, who created the world’s first fully functional 3-D-printed dress in 2000.

“How can the fashion industry truly benefit from 3-D printing? What if we can produce shoes at home for $20?” he asked.

From 3-D printed shoes to printing two-seater lounge chairs that are light as a feather, Kyttanen’s work is putting 3-D printing on the map like never before. Not only by using recycled materials to take something digital and making it tangible, but also opening the door of digital manufacturing as a means of artistic expression and not simply a means of practicality.

“It’s not just that you can become anyone you want, but today, you can also become anything you want,” said the designer. 

“For me, luxury doesn’t mean a $600 handbag,” he added. “For me, luxury means having the ability to express myself in any way possible.” 

In a field where designs are printed and not crafted, one audience member posed a question about the future of craftsmanship and where people should draw the line between technology and artistry.

“My question to you is, why would you want to put boundaries on technology?” Kyttanen asked. “I mean, that is the ultimate freedom -- you can go crazy and do whatever you want.”

“I see myself more as a digital craftsman,” he said. “It’s just the tools are different.”

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)
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