Jan 27, 2016 | By Tess

3D printing marketplaces are a fertile virtual environment for makers to feature their items and to find other additively manufactured goods that might interest them, though sometimes sifting through all the 3D printed objects on large marketplaces can be a bit tiresome. Kwambio, a newly re-launched 3D printing marketplace for luxury design objects, is hoping to change all that by offering made-to-order 3D printed works that are curated and created by a select number of notable designers.

The online platform, which initially launched in 2014, has just relaunched their web platform with a new creative director on board, Chad Phillips, the former Director of Retail at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and former Creative Director at Fab.com.

Kwambio is hoping to change the face of 3D printing for consumers by offering items made not from PLA or ABS plastics, as someone unfamiliar with 3D printing might expect, but designer items made from finer materials such as high quality metals (including gold, silver, and brass) and ceramics such as terra cotta and porcelain.

The company is also hoping to break into a growing trend in manufacturing, that of made-on-demand, customized goods, which emphasize the individual client rather than the market at large. That is, rather than fill up a warehouse with pre-made objects and hope they are purchased, Kwambio only manufactures items that are ordered and paid for. As of now, the items that are purchased are additively manufactured by external 3D printing companies in the U.S. or Europe, depending on the design and the material.

The made-on-demand ethos allows for the chance to make customizations to the objects being ordered in terms of material, size, and even shape. As a Kwambio rep explains, “We love to engage our customer in the design process—because we believe in offering an object that is not just a product, but a one-of-a-kind commission between the designer and the customer.”

Kwambio’s creative director Chad Phillips also explains that the recently launched site offers a unique opportunity to the artists and designers they are collaborating with as it allows them to work, sometimes for the first time, with 3D printing technology as Kwambio is equipped to help and take care of many of the technological CAD processes. “When I talked with [artist] Misha Kahn, he said, ‘You have a new toy I can play with? Of course, I want to work with you,’” says Phillips. “It lets them play in ways they wouldn’t normally be able to.”

So far, Kwambio has collaborated with such designers as Chen Chen & Kai Williams, Jim Drain, Colleen Whiteley, Mir Ett, and Brooklyn based design studio byAMT and is showcasing such objects as 3D printed jewelry, and various 3D printed decor items. Because the items are made from fine materials and are design pieces, the price for the objects ranges between about $38 to $1,800 dollars. Kwambio’s pricing structure follows a traditional retail model so they take all market costs and prices into account before determining their retail cost.

“Our main priority is to make designs that we consider aesthetically pleasing, based on our experience in the NYC design world,” explains Phillips. “These may be minimal, or very experimental and through these will push what can be done. It usually takes us about 8 weeks from A to Z to get a project live, unless revisions take longer.”

If you happen to be in the market for a 3D printed ceramic piggy bank, or a 3D printed silver “diamond” ring designed by emerging contemporary artists, or simply want to see a new model for a 3D printed marketplace, check out Kwambio’s website here.




Posted in 3D Design



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