Greta Oto was developed in collaboration with the fashion studio threeAsfour for Stratasys 2019 Chro-Morpho collection, now on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s exhibition Design for Different Futures. The project explores the microscopic play of light and color that occurs in butterfly wings, using new fabrication processes to synthesize naturally occurring optical effects. By 3D printing scale-sized lenses directly onto polyester fabric, we’ve developed a unique approach to producing flexible, lenticular textiles. The dress is an assembly of 27 “prints” composed of thousands of individual, transparent spherical cells. Depending on the angle of view, each cell refracts one of two underlying strips of color to create an iridescent and dynamic gradient of gold and blue. The final construction hybridizes traditional and digital craft processes to demonstrate how, through the study of biological systems, we can develop novel and innovative approaches to what a textile can do.
What did you create?
Specifically, we designed and developed the 27 unique files for direct fabric 3D printing that are assembled into the final dress. More than a singular piece, however, we’ve developed a digital process for the geometric design, aggregation and coloration of multi-material, 3D printable, lenticular textiles. This process is the result of countless trials testing different lens shapes, sizes and methods for clustering and gradating the individual cells.This is a highly flexible process that can be printed on any range of natural fabrics, following any pattern outline, and using any set of binary (two color) imagery.
Why did you make it?
Greta Oto was developed as a proof of concept piece for Stratasys 2019 Chro-Morpho collection, alongside other pieces that study the color and morphology of insects. The textiles are part of a larger and ongoing study in the possibilities of multi material 3D printing directly on fabric.
How did you make it?
The construction of Greta Oto is a collaborative and multidisciplinary process. The project began in threeAsfour’s studio as a paper pattern thrown on a mannequin, and deconstructed into a set of flat patches optimized to fit on a printing bed. These patches were scanned and taken to our studio, where we tested a wide variety of digital techniques, colors and geometries as small sample swatches. Every patch was then traced in CAD, veinated with different branching patterns, and developed into a black and white image used for mapping 3D geometries onto the CAD pattern. After a series of sample tests, we developed a parametric 3D modelling process for mapping the thousands of individual cells onto the patches, gradating the size and density of each cell, and grouping them into different colors and materials. These were exported as a series of VRMLs suitable for multi material printing, sent to Stratasys for production, and then then shipped to threeAsfour’s studio to be cut, pinned and sewn into the final garment.
Your entry’s specification
The dress weighs about five pounds, and fits on a typical mannequin (approx. 4’ x 2’). The textiles are translucent polyester fabric with polyjet materials bonded directly. The assembly is machine sewn, malleable and durable.