Mar.12, 2014

When you think of polygons, you don't typically think of a cutting edge piece of clothing. But designer Francis Bitonti has changed that by working with Makerbot and students to design and 3D-print a delicate dress using clear and flexible filaments and Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printers.

The dress, named as the Bristle Dress, was created with students from multiple design industries and used computational design. Francis Bitonti led a workshop at his studio at the Metropolitan Exchange in Brooklyn, N.Y., in which students experimented with digital modelling and 3D-printing technologies.

Francis Bitonti explains, "The workshops are about finding the new aesthetic formal language of this new manufacturing paradigm. It's not just about replicating a form from the computer, though that is part of it—it's about cultivating new material behaviors."

The upper part of the Bristle Dress was designed to be 3D printed in MakerBot Natural PLA Filament (clear), selected for its translucent qualities. The skirt was created using MakerBot Flexible Filament. The skirt of the dress was also lined with synthetic fur. The result is a flexible yet highly structured garment that creates an interesting overall silhouette and combines both artificial and natural textures.

"We wanted to make the body solidify into harder geometry, going from atmosphere to ice. We integrated a fur lining in their version to ease in the transition. The skirt can be secured by either gluing a hook and eye strip or industrial zipper down the back seam. We are starting to think a lot about design interfaces and questioning how much the public is willing to design." says Bitonti.

Bitonti sees computational design, smart materials, and interactive environments as opportunities to create new aesthetic languages for our built environment. Francis Bitonti's first 3D printed dress was the curve-hugging Dita Von Teese dress. "I see technology as deeply connected to being human," says Bitonti.

The Bristle Dress will be shown at the New York MakerBot Store during the month of April and then at a culminating exhibition at Ravensbourne in London this summer. The Bristle Dress is customizable and available for download from Thingiverse so it can be 3D printed at home.

Watch the video below designer Francis Bitonti talks about his Bristle Dress.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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