United Nude & Francis Bitonti | Uniqueness In Mass Production

United Nude, a footwear brand synonymous with creating incredibly inspiring 3D printed concepts that are often more conceptual pieces of art rather than functional footwear, has teamed up with designer, Francis Bitonti on the Mutatio collection. Each shoe in the collection is not only wearable, but uniquely generated by an algorithm so that no two pairs are the same. 

“I see in the industry emerging what many people are calling digital materials—materials that are a software construct,” says Bitonti. “More and more of our products are going to be generated by large data sets as computer controlled fabrication equipment becomes more sophisticated and begins operating on a finer scale. How do you produce sacristy when materials are digitally generated and infinitely replicable?”




Bitonti has created an algorithm that would create one shoe per customer, then discard those settings so no two shoes will ever be the same. The area of the shoe that will be customized is the latticed heel, which is essentially made from a number of knots that can be tightened and loosened based on the algorithm’s settings. “Each one of these products will be individually generated when they are sold, so we thought about the product as software and not as static materials,” says Bitonti.

Bitoni reached out to United Nude founder Rem D. Koolhaas after his initial molecule concept shoe (another algorithm generated piece of footwear) and the two decided to collaborate on bringing this idea forward. They decided to also add a somewhat primitive feeling animal print leather to the upper of the shoe, to contrast the technical, 3D printed heel.

Seeing a brand like United Nude bring out a super conceptual, 3D printed heel that’s available for purchase is a pretty big step in the realm of 3D printed products. Generally when something 3D printed enters the mass market, it’s something very simple, small or some type of accent to an overall product, and not the main feature. It really only makes sense that UN would be one of the first, ‘bigger’ brands to experiment with producing wearable 3D printed footwear, and doing it in such a unique manner.

When asked about the future of 3D printing, Bitoni had some interesting viewpoints –

“I think you can absolutely expect affordable fully 3-D printed shoes [in the future],” says Bitonti. “What holds that back is companies being vertically integrated with themselves. You’re not getting price breaks—the industry isn’t set up at the moment for 3-D printing on an industrial scale.”

via – FastCo









Mr. Bailey

Product Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks | www.MrBailey.co.uk

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