Dec 13, 2015 | By Alec

We here at have seen quite a few intriguing 3D printed jewelry pieces over the years, but for some designers 3D printers can be used for more than quirky, funny jewelry pieces; it is, they’ve shown us, also a tool for creating meaningful, inspiring tributes that combine the best of the old and the new technologies. Roberto Chaves, of Lumitoro, is an inspiring young jewelry designer operating from Stockholm who has repeatedly proven that he perfectly fits in the latter category, and is happy to tell us more about his latest collection: Komorebi, a stylish exclusive set that plays with light and dark, and was inspired by the way sunlight filters through the leaves of trees.

If you’ve never heard of Robert Chaves or Lumitoro, he is clearly part of that new wave of designers that isn’t afraid to merge art and technology. Since 2013, he and his team have been developing high-quality jewelry out of their Stockholm HQ in an interesting design process clearly revolving around 3D printing. As he tells us, he is addicted to learning new things and creating beautiful shapes, and this drive is at a core of Lumitoro. “It all started with my interest in doing graphical realtime programming on the c64 computer when I was 10 years old, which then led me to creating realtime 3D programs and Virtual Reality, to graphical design, to photography and more. All the Lumitoro product and fashion photography is done by me, allowing my vision to go from a paper sketch to the product photography of the final piece of jewelry,” he says. Combine that with a truly international outlook (as a half Finnish, half Spanish designer operating from Sweden with an insatiable love for Japan), and you can see where these interesting shapes are coming from.

This has already resulted in a number of fascinating collections, most of which can be found on the Lumitoro website, though this latest collection has been made exclusively for Wonderluk and the TopShop Oxford Circus pop up store in London. A few select stores in Stockholm are also home to Lumitoro designs.

But as Roberto tells us, 3D printing is the unifying theme in all his collections. “It helps me bring my ideas to life with less limitations and it allows me to quickly go from idea, to concept to final product. Also I can create small collections that are made to order, without the traditional expensive investments needed for mass produced items,” he says. “Another thing is that I get to explore new materials as well as classical materials in new modern shapes not easily done in traditional ways.”

And that latter advantage is clearly seen in his gorgeous new collection. While some 3D printed jewelry pieces are inspired by discovering new CAD options, Roberto instead was finds his inspiration in more classical places – from photography, nature, language, travel, music and art. “In the case of the Komorebi collection, it was inspired by the beauty of the Japanese word Komorebi,  (木漏れ日) which means: (n.) sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees,” he tells us. “Photography for me is about catching light, and the magical light that can be seen when filtered through trees gives me a special feeling of wonder. This is what I wanted to capture in a minimalistic form and applied to jewelry.” And this is clearly visible – featuring clear geometric, minimalistic shapes, these pieces visible above captures the simple beauty of light and darkness combined.

But of course we are also very interested in Roberto’s design process, and as he explains, it all goes back to 2011 when he first began tinkering with a 3D printer. His team currently have four 3D printers in operation, with different machines and qualities for different purposes. “It all starts with a sketch. I love the raw feel of a pencil on paper to give that first burst of life to an idea. My passion for technology and design has compelled me to also experiment with drawing on the iPad with a pressure sensitive stylus,” he says. That sketch quickly turns into a 3D model, for which he uses Fusion360.

Bronze Torii pendant, Roberto’s first piece and the inspiration for Lumitoro

Once satisfied with the concept, in-house 3D printers are used for tangible prototyping. “For prototyping I usually print in ABS or PLA on the FDM printers or a black resin for the SLA printer. Which I use depends on the stage I'm in the design process and what sort of design I'm working on,” he says. SLA 3D printing is obviously better for the latter stages of detailed pieces, but he is quick to remind us that FDM 3D printing is perfect for rough and quick prototypes. “For larger objects I might also print a lower resolution version in ABS, to quickly get a feel of the physical version,” he says. “I’m still amazed that in as little as 30 minutes, I can hold a plastic prototype of a necklace in my hand.”

Once they’ve found a ‘winner’, these creations are finally outsourced to a 3D printing service provider who mass-print them in a variety of materials – sterling silver, stainless steel, raw bronze, even quality plastics. Everything is possible to suit the designer’s or, even a single client’s, preferences, and that’s the beauty of using 3D printers. “The ‘right material’ depends on the visual aesthetic, the tactile sensation and the complexity of the design. We learn more about the opportunities and limitations of each material as we go,” Roberto explains.

Stickii necklace

As you can see above, this process has already resulted in so many gorgeous pieces, but Roberto and his team are doing anything but resting on their laurels. A new hybrid/fusion collection is planned for the first quarter of 2016, including a few ceramic-based designs, so a lot will be happening soon. “I'm also working on a few surprise additions, that are not jewelry, but complement them for the current shapes collection!” he says. “Then I have about 10-12 other collections planned, some pieces ready, other in prototype stages and some just as sketches.” In short, we can look forward to so many more of these fascinating designs, that all make your mind start wandering and your wallet uncomfortable.

Tubii bracelet



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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