From their Brooklyn workshop, thefuturefuture melds burgeoning technologies with a very DIY-informed aesthetic and sensibility. They’ll be joining us for our Nemo-delayed 3D printing jewelry bazaar at Ace Hotel New York this Saturday — and took a few minutes to talk about their work as they prepare.
How does your architectural background influence the way you relate to the human body in jewelry design?
As architects, we typically develop our ideas in terms of constraints. Working in NYC forces us to constantly work within the obstructions of the existing built environment, and we approach the human body in the same way. Our architectural pieces are always very site-specific, however designing a line to fit each individual is not necessarily possible. So our approach is to make pieces that are generated by custom algorithms so that each piece is as unique as the person wearing it.
Do you dream in 3D?
Absolutely. Actually, we dream in 4D because there is time involved! We also daydream of dark matter and parallel universes.
A biomimetic 3D-printed shoe collaboration between Dutch fashion designer Marieka Ratsma and American architect Kostika Spaho, inspired by the skull of a bird, reflects the lightness and highly-differentiated bone structure of the cranium. The structure requires less support material, resulting in increased efficiency, strength and elegance — one of the many alluring aspects of biomimicry that, when combined with emerging technologies such as 3D mapping and printing, fuses an Old World, Da Vinci-esque principle of worshiping and mimicking the natural world to further human evolution, with an otherworldly animal-machine-human future (or present) straight out of Blade Runner. Kostika will be working with designers tomorrow in the lobby at Ace Hotel New York for our Fashion Week 3D printing jewelry design bazaar — unless Mother Nature biomimics us back on our asses. In which case, enjoy the reading material.
op·u·lent adj: 1. characterized by an obvious or lavish display of wealth or affluence 2. in richly abundant supply
The Opulent Project is a Portland-based designer/maker collaborative founded by Meg Drinkwater and Erin Gardner a handful of years ago. Drinkwater and Gardner make “jewelry about jewelry” — and they’re of particular interest to us in this moment not only because their work is stunning, inspiring all sort of covetous, curious thoughts — but also because their 3D Ring has us thinking about the metaphor of 3D printing in the era of DIY, “makers” and the conflation of art and fashion. Culled from Google Image Commons, the ring is a stack of digital images never intended to see the light of day IRL. Having broken this unspoken contract, they’ve made something beautiful, thoughtful and slightly dangerous.
“We like to make objects. We are curious about the relationship our society has to its objects. We ponder infatuations. We are interested the nature of possessions. With that, we become a factory.”
The term ekphrasis refers to the act of “making art about art” — it comes to mind when you mention making “jewelry about jewelry” in that both practices invoke translation, cynicism, celebration and a sort of intentional nonsense-making, calling into question the social, aesthetic and material scaffolding around “real,” “fake” and “meaningful.” How cerebral do you get in your process — does it touch on these points or is more about play? Or both?
This is a great question and I think it considers our process and approach very well. Our process is absolutely rooted in a cerebral investigation of a subject matter, however the outcome, or the product, is very much about play. We try not to take ourselves too seriously. But the viewer/wearer response can be varied in relation to this question. We recently had a bit of a debate with our gallerist in New Jersey about this exact subject. She was wondering if people were ever insulted by some of our projects. Where I had thought we were blending all of the above: translation, cynicism, celebration and intentional nonsense making, she seemed to think some of our work could be more on the cynical side. She thought some of our projects could be seen as a bit more of a sarcastic representation of jewelry than a celebratory one, as though we were saying, “Oh you want a fancy ring; I’ll give you a fancy ring.” We can be pretty cynical and we are of course critical of the established system of value related to commercial jewelry and luxury objects, but we regard this culture with fascination, not necessarily disgust. Our work is not angry, but curious… We are asking questions, not making statements.
We kick off our Fall Fashion Week interviews with designer and sorcerer Chris Habana. Raised in the Philippines and the US on a steady diet of sci-fi, fantasy role play, Dungeons and Dragons and 90s gay counter-culture, Chris’ work blends gothic iconography with a playful and aggressive take on a pop lens. Amidst sketching up his collaboration with thefuturefuture on a series of pieces for our in-house 3D-printed jewelry bazaar at Ace Hotel New York this weekend, Chris talked to us briefly about Catholic School, his queer icons and being an early adopter of 3D mapping in the fashion world.
Talk about how your binational, big gay life has fused with sci-fi to create your strong visual statements about religion, salvation and human agency.
My design process is very organic. My day to day life experiences, my lovers, my encounters — all influence the work. With regards to religion, sex, gay counter-culture, and sci-fi — well, how many times have you heard that story of the young geeky Dungeons and Dragons-playing Filipino immigrant who went to Catholic School and came to the States to realize his goth/angst homosexual dreams in the club and fashion world?
During Fall Fashion Week in New York on Saturday, February 9, we’re partnering with Shapeways on an interactive encounter of technology and design that explores how digital technology can revolutionize the future of fashion — with Michael Schmidt, Dita Von Teese, Material ConneXion and some of today’s most forward-thinking CAD artists and analog jewelry designers.
An interactive bespoke jewelry bazaar pairs jewelry designers including Ten Thousand Things, Verameat, Ursa Major, In God We Trust, Lindsey Adelman, Anna Sheffield and Chris Habana with CAD modelers Kostika Spaho, thefuturefuture and Duann Scott to offer participants the chance to realize their own custom-made pieces, made before their eyes with MakerBot 3D printers.
At 2pm in the lobby, we host a group discussion for students about 3D printing and fashion’s future with designer Michael Schmidt —creator of wardrobes for luminaries like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Deborah Harry and Madonna, and of the rope installation in the lobby of Ace Hotel & Swim Club — and 3D design evangelists Michael Curry and Duann Scott from MakerBot and Shapeways, respectively, and Brooks Hagan, textile artist and Acting Head of the Textile Department at RISD. All students are welcome to attend.
Material ConneXion presents a gallery show focused on the materiality of fashion to come, and Michael Schmidt — creator of wardrobes for luminaries like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Deborah Harry and Madonna, and of the rope installation in the lobby of Ace Hotel & Swim Club — with Computational Designer Francis Bitonti unveils a fully articulated 3D-printed gown to be debuted by Dita Von Teese as muse and model at a party to herald fashion’s forthcoming digital future.
We’ll be posting interviews, inspiration boards, studio visits and more here in the days leading up to the big shebang.