May 9, 2016 | By Tess

The ivory trade has existed for centuries, and though it is now illegal, it continues on and is one of the leading causes of depleting elephant species. The hard, off-white material made from the tusks of such animals as elephants, walruses, hippopotamuses, and whales, has been used throughout history to produce a variety of luxury items, from utensil handles, to sculptures, to billiard balls, to piano keys, to ornamental objects. Even today, despite the known cruelty of animal poaching that occurs to produce ivory, the material has retained an undeniable recognition of luxe and quality. In an effort to match the sought after aesthetic of ivory without sourcing the material from animals, Italian design studio Ushak is creating design items inspired by the ornamentation of the past but created using 3D printing technologies.

The Parma, Italy based design studio was started by architect Andrea Pacciani, who had a vision of offering sustainable, animal-friendly alternatives to ivory made objects, which still bear a similar aesthetic and color to the now illegal material. The effort is comparable to those of fashion brands and designers who have make the conscious decision to work with faux-furs rather than continue with the cruel tradition of animal fur farming.

Pacciani explains the philosophy behind her design studio saying, “Ushak is a workshop where you can find wonderful new production of objects of the past have disappeared from our homes, but in rare specimens preserved in museums. Or we see them depicted in the paintings of the history of art and we wonder why we can not have them in the twenty-first century? Contemporary craftsmanship is still able to get the same quality of the past with the means at times quite similar to the ones of the past sometimes using sophisticated technologies. What counts for us is to offer luxury of the past that we can now be accessed without difficulty.”

In other words, Pacciani is interested in bringing the ornamentation of design from the past into the present using contemporary manufacturing processes, like 3D design and 3D printing. The design studio’s latest collection “Keepers of Joy”, for instance, was inspired by the work of 17th century inventor and ornamental turner Nicholas Grollier de Servière and was made using SLS 3D printing technology.

The series consists of 5 ornamental pieces including Trembleur, Grollier A, Grollier B, Rosen, and Grollier Kit (which consists of one pedestal and five puzzle balls). Each of the intricate home decorations, which range in size from 20cm to 119cm in height, are made using SLS 3D printing, and can be hand painted in either an ivory or ebony color, with the option of gold accents, or red lacquer. The ornamental objects range in price from €595 to €3,113 ($677 to $3546).

3D printing technologies have offered Pacciani a way to effectively bring intricate and luxurious designs of the past back into our homes without necessitating the use of unsustainable materials such as ivory. With her work, the designer is hoping to promote animal friendly materials and is hoping to ultimately do away with people’s desire for real ivory.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive