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Lexus Design Award 2019, Winner: 'Algorithmic Lace Bra' by Lisa Marks

Industrial designer Lisa Marks was conferred the Lexus Design Award 2019 at Milan Design week for creating a unique bra, made especially for women who have had a mastectomy.

by STIRworldPublished on : Jul 16, 2019

Industrial designer Lisa Marks clearly proved that a ‘design for a better tomorrow’ has more meaning to it than just environment sustainability as she went on to become the Grand Prix winner at the Lexus Design Award 2019 held at Milan Design Week.

Her Algorithmic Lace bra, designed for style and comfort post a mastectomy procedure, was selected from a total of 1,548 idea submissions from 65 countries across the globe.

The bra is custom crafted using a new methodology of algorithmic patterning to make three-dimensional lace. This avoids aspects of the bra that create discomfort after surgery, and give each woman a confidence in her new beginning.

Marks’ achievement stems from a career and research focused on methods of integration between endangered traditional handicraft with algorithmic modelling, with an aim to create new modes of production. Marks has an MFA from Parsons School of Design, New York, and is currently faculty at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Lisa Marks| Algorithmic Lace bra |Lexus Design Awards| STIR
Lisa Marks, the designer of Algorithmic Lace bra Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus Design Award

Algorithmic Lace bra has been patterned in a way that creates an optical illusion of fullness, so when looking in the mirror, there is a sense of symmetry where actually it is not, giving women an optimistic start after they have had breast tissue removed during cancer treatment.

The process of creating a custom bra requires the client to get a full 3-D body scan. The scan captures everything from size to depth, and a programme then takes a basic pattern on lace and morphs it onto the body. The base math can then be edited through the plotted points and lines on the graph to make it more or less dense as required, and fully customised for the individual’s comfort.

There are more practical solutions for every day wear, but the designer is hopeful that women will choose algorithmic design for special occasions and intimate moments.

  • The Algorithmic Lace designs | Lisa Marks| Lexus Design Awards| STIR
    The Algorithmic Lace designs Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus Design Award
  • Yoshihiro Sawa, President of Lexus International, with Lexus Design Award winner Lisa Marks| Lisa Marks| Lexus Design Award| STIR
    Yoshihiro Sawa, President of Lexus International, with Lexus Design Award winner Lisa MarksImage Credit: Courtesy of Lexus Design Award
  • Lisa Marks explaining her designs to the visitors| Lisa Marks| Lexus Design Award| STIR
    Lisa Marks explaining her designs to the visitorsImage Credit: Courtesy of Lexus Design Award

With about six months of aggregated work invested in the Algorithmic Lace design, Marks advanced to develop working prototypes. Using 3D lace, her bra prototype is seamless and has a higher stitch concentration under the breast to provide support since women with mastectomies find seams and underwire uncomfortable. A similar concentration at the top of the bra gives an even visual between the cups and a symmetric look regardless of volume. After the development of the customised pattern, the next step is completely traditional, using bobbins to braid and twist lengths of thread to form the lace.

It is interesting to note that while the design caters to cancer patients and a very real difficulty, the process is intentionally not machinised or automated, but retained as a traditional weaving method to offer employment to craftspeople as well.

Marks is targeting an issue plaguing millions with the first iteration of Algorithmic Lace and she is hopeful that the same material will someday trickle into other situations too.

Read more about the Lexus Design Award 2019 at the Milan Design Week and its other finalists:

  1. Green Blast Jet Energy by Dmitriy Balashov
  2. Solgami by Prevalent
  3. Baluto by Jeffrey E.Dela Cruz
  4. Hydrus by Shuzhan Yuan
  5. Arenophile by Rezzan Hasoglu

(Text by Palak Maheshwari, intern at

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