3D Printing Hits Runway—MFA Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is one of the world's foremost curators of the innovative and the creative. In a recent exhibit, titled "#techstyle," the MFA is featuring high fashion pieces developed through new technologies and methods of manufacturing. Some of the pieces are comprised of never-before-used materials, others are made from fully recycled materials, a few come in advanced materials directly off a 3D printer—like designer Francis Bitonti's "Molecule" shoes. In a collaboration with the renowned designer, FATHOM provided the 3D printing services for this installation at MFA. The piece and exhibit were covered by a number of publications including the Wall Street Journal, Interior Design, and Boston Globe.

No two pairs of @francisbitontistudio's "Molecule" shoes are exactly the same. See one version up close in #techstyle! 3D printing footage courtesy of FATHOM (@studiofathom).

A video posted by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (@mfaboston) on Jul 6, 2016 at 12:33pm PDT

Each pair of the Bitonti shoes are totally unique, and "grow" from a concept created by the designer himself. Pixel by pixel, an algorithm mimics the natural growth of cells, a digital recreation of the growth process seen in nature. The shoes take on a distinctly digital yet organic appearance, a reflection of the contrasting influences of their creation.

High fashion is just one of many applications of generative and organically-based design work made possible through 3D printing as a method of manufacturing. While unique outfits and accessories do not fit our everyday lives, the science and engineering work behind these artistic creations are pushing practical applications forward. Pioneering works by Bitonti, as well as Neri Oxman and Anouk Wipprecht to name a few, represent serious developments in material science for 3D printing—all of which they share with the world through a passion for art and high fashion. Many industry-leading companies are experimenting with generative design and the advancements are being realized in industrial design today.


Although much of FATHOM's work using generative design is under NDA, the team has made a few stories public such as creating the East Bay EDA Innovation Awards, Designer Aaron Porterfield's Space-Frame table, and trophies for the 2015 Make The Unmakeable Challenge.

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