Nov 20, 2017 | By David

3D printing technology has enabled product designers in a variety of different fields to expand their horizons and re-imagine manufacturing possibilities, in terms of materials, shapes and many other factors. Fashion is one industry where 3D printing is starting to have a significant impact, particularly by enabling a range of cross-disciplinary influences, and a recent award-winning breakthrough has successfully combined stylish eyewear with a material more commonly associated with construction. South African architect Handre de la Rey's 3D printed concrete sunglasses are now commercially available on the 20 Eight website to a select number of fashion-forward consumers.

While this might seem like a strange clash of aesthetics and functionalities, concrete eyewear is actually not even a unique idea. XYZ Integrated Architecture studio and UK artist Daniel Sinsel have each created their own pairs, but this is the first that will see a commerical release.

The CS Project was inspired by the work of Japanese architect Tadao Ando, whose use of bold geometry, clean proportions and concrete informed de la Rey’s process. The sunglasses were five years in the making, from the initial concept to final production, with 3D printing and design technology playing a major role in the intermediate design and prototyping stages.

Handre de la Rey was named 2017 PPC Imaginarium Awards Industrial Design Category Winner for his innovative eyewear. The South African art and design competition challenges emerging creatives to express their talents by incorporating Portland cement-based concrete as the primary medium in their respective industries, and it helped CS Project gain some serious media coverage nationwide. Other winners included jewellery designer and manufacturer Zanele Vilakazi and fine artist Mziwoxolo Makalima.

Known as CS Project, the innovative concrete sunglasses are now being released on to the market by de la Rey’s design studio 20 Eight. Despite their heavy-duty material base, the sunglasses are relatively lightweight, weighing just 100 grams. Each pair was handcrafted and individually numbered, and the production run is currently limited to just 1,000 units. 3D printed metal was used to make the bridge, and the rims of the sunglasses are concrete, with interchangeable temples.

Conventional clay and resin moulding techniques were used, after which a 1mm-long silicon skin was added around the master rim to prevent breakages. Once the cement was properly cured, the components were sanded and sealed.  CS Project recently went on sale at the GUILD, which is located at the Silo District at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa.

According to De La Rey, “Developing (the) CS Project has been a challenge, albeit one that we have thoroughly enjoyed. We’re extremely happy with the finished product and are currently shipping our first batch of sunglasses to Canada. We’re also in the process of developing a Nylon version. Being announced as the Industrial Design Category Winner in the 2017 PPC Imaginarium Awards has given our design studio incredible exposure. CS Project has been on display at numerous esteemed galleries and has been featured widely in the media – we’re now receiving an influx of inquiries regarding our work. The awards pushed us to work hard on a design that is unique and out of our comfort zone.”

The 3D printed concrete eyewear is priced at R 6500.00 (USD463).



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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