Jan 31, 2016 | By Kira

Paris is the city of lights, the city of love, and the city for nonstop shopping. From fashion boutiques to vintage bookshops to gourmet fromageries, you can find it all, and even if you’re budget won’t allow too many indulgences, just browsing the storefront windows can be an experience in and of itself. As part of an initiative to capture shoppers’ attention during the 2015 Holiday season and enhance the city’s already-enchanting atmosphere, Semeast, a public organization that aims at promoting local retailers in Paris 10th district, gathered together ten local shops and challenged them to create interactive holiday-themed window displays using recycled materials and high-tech manufacturing, including laser cutting and 3D printing.

The actual assembly of these interactive window displays and their 3D printed elements was done by local makerspace Le FabShop, a French startup that focuses on 3D printing technology, and the official reseller of Makerbot devices in France. Financial assistance was provided by Semeast and the Paris Chamber of Commerce.

In light of the recent COP21 meetings that also took place in the city, the Innovative Windows (‘Vitrines Innovantes’) project focused on using recycled, locally manufactured, and biodegradable materials. Jamini, one of the ten participating Parisian stores, filled their storefront window with a mini Christmas village that was made out of recycled paper and cardboard from the store itself. Makers at Le FabShop laser cut the paper and added touch-activated microcontrollers, 3D printed circuit boards, photovoltaic cells and LED lights. As a final touch, several decorative elements were 3D printed using a corn starch-based filament, a biodegradable material with similar properties to 3D printed plastic.

“Combining design, innovation, and sustainable development, these window displays will be made the Le FabShop in the true 'maker' spirit,” said Semeast. “Semeast and Le FabShop want to demonstrate that raw materials [such as the recycled cardboard and corn starch filaments] can be found locally at lower costs, and then reused in a brand new way.”

The result is a tiny, magical Christmas village, inspired by the architecture and history of Paris’ 10th district, that lights up and springs to life as shoppers pass by and placed their palms against the glass, taking their standard window displays to a new level of charm and delight. Thus, not only are they an innovative use of recycled materials and low-cost, 3D printing and maker technologies, but the interactive window displays captured the spirit of the holidays and of Paris itself.

The 3D printed interactive window displays were showcased at the ten participating retailers from November 20th until January 10th, however this innovative pilot project was quite successful in garnering attention for these local businesses, and it could therefore serve as a model for how other retailers can build deeper connections with their customers, all while improving the appearance of their storefront windows, through sustainable, locally-manufactured 3D printed displays.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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