by Meghna MehtaJan 27, 2020
Addressing the present and future scenarios of the design world, the Reshape Forum has always attempted to address a niche field that questions the role of technology in defining new paradigms. Initiated in 2014, the fifth edition of the forum concluded recently, with this year’s event based on the theme, Cognified Matter.
Reshape - a globally recognised platform - has now turned into a one-stop destination to discover new talent, products in the digital, design, product and fashion industries. This year, the forum focused on digital transformation and its impact on socio-economic models.
The designers from across the globe not only submitted a variety of proposals for the Reshape competition 2019, but also attended the forum in Barcelona in large numbers. The competition was open to designers, architects, engineers and makers, and 20 designers selected for their artistic and diverse approach to wearable technology and product design presented their ideas and proposals at the forum.
The projects were evaluated through three main criteria - concept idea, prototype fabricability and dissemination strategy. The finalists were selected by a jury of international experts – Simone Cesano, Senior Director Design Operations Adidas; Alberto Lovisetto, 3D Project Coordinator Moncler; Behnaz Farahi, Architecture Fashion and Interaction Designer; Julia Weems, Fashion School Director at IED Barcelona; and Raquel Buj, Founder of Zap & Buj.
The jury highlighted the implication of new material technology towards market applications supported by emerging tools of design and manufacturing, new educational programmes, emerging practices and artistic collaborations.
To address the scientific and technological aspect of each of the products, the Reshape scientific committee included Aldo Sollazzo, Reshape and Noumena Director; Valerie Bergeron, MaterFAD Director & FAD Deputy Director; Anastasia Pistofidou, Director of the FabTextile Research lab and the Fabricademy, and Bradly Dunn Klerk, a fashion and technology expert.
A total of eight winners from the Wearable Technology and the Smart Product category – with the most innovative and outstanding work – were announced on October 31, 2019, at the Reshape award ceremony as part of the three-day Reshape symposium. The symposium also included host talks by the judges themselves, exhibitions, and round-table discussions.
Smart Product category - Winners
1. Walk of Mind
The first position under this category was awarded to Walk of Mind – designed by Hadar Slassi, a jewellery and fashion designer based in Jerusalem – for pioneering the concept of hybrid shoe fabrication design. Using a unique shoe layering strata compound method, the shoe is designed with a compound signifying five layers of the earth. The Strata Compound method bridges the gap between modern digital technology and old-world craftsmanship.
While the initial design process uses digital scan of a certain foot for personal customisation, it can very well be adjusted to any foot depending upon the scanned model. The shoes are not only feather light but also extremely durable due to their skeleton, making them easy to use.
Holding the potential to liberate the mind and soul for dancers, this smart product designed by Ana Correa was adjudged the second best. These shoes track the movement of feet in real time and visualise it in different digital graphics. Ana Correa is an industrial designer and shoemaker with Fabricademy, based in Colombia.
The technology helps to tell stories and transmit emotions to the world. Combining innovative materials and electronics, the shoes are an attempt to mediate between the body and the digital world in the context of dancing. Custom tailored to the very end, the shoes have been produced using different rapid prototyping techniques. The principal goal is to create an interaction where dancing is taken to another level and the connection with the audience is beyond any disabilities.
As the name suggests, this project is inspired both in concept and morphology by the Russian Constructivist movement and the so-called ‘transmission arts’. Designed by Agustina Palazzo, Betiana Pavón and Mateus Sartori, it won the third prize under the Smart Product category.
Radio frequencies are part of an environment that constantly cross us but are invisible and inaudible. This project allows us to receive these waves, transform them into data and at the same time with the auditory and intuitive interpretation of the user, generate totally random musical sounds as output.
Morphologically following the guidelines of the constructivist movement and embedded in geometric rigour, this unique design of the helmet takes a semi-circular module that is repeatedly scaled around a concentric axis intending to represent in forms, the expansive effect of sound waves.
With the help of 3D printing technology and softwares like Rhino, the final piece is constructed through modules and a system of fittings between the helmet with the geometry that follows from it.
Honoured with a special mention at the Reshape 2019 competition, NeoTouch is a speculative design project envisioning the future of haptic technology for human interaction through digital touch. Designed by Christine Wurth, it is rooted in contemporary scientific research, and speculates on a future ‘data-body’ that completely overlaps with the physical body. Beyond imagining the technical development and the precise functionality of the device, NeoTouch uses a near-future narrative to highlight very current questions around social and psychological repercussions of technological innovation on our lives and society as a whole.
The project raises questions about consent and agency, privacy, digital safety, gender, adolescence, digital literacy and online harassment. These issues are amplified by imagining a technology that maps digital interactions onto and into the physical body.
Wearable Technology category - Winners
1. Laser Dye
Laser dye is a research about alternative photography process on textile, by exploiting UV laser projection and fabric pre-coated with photosensitive ink (cyanotype). It has been designed by Wei Chieh Shih, a media artist who works with e-textile, wearables and technology applications. The project won the top position in the Wearable Technology category.
It creates permanent images on textiles and is able to achieve photography level resolution on ready-made garments such as second hand t-shirt or shoes, or even on fragile materials, however, applicable only to natural fibres. This inventive fabrication idea challenges the possibilities to merge photography and digital print disciplines in fashion.
Announced as the second winner, beGrounded has been designed by Lara Campos, a fashion and textile designer who works with biomaterials research in Barcelona. The product is a kit that includes the necessary elements to germinate a handcrafted piece and wear it as an idyllic representation of symbiosis with nature. It is a boon for everyone who wishes to experience nature through garments.
Bringing the two interconnected worlds together, the basis of the project involves growing plants on textiles in order to be closer to nature. It tackles the feeling of wearing living materials and their beneficial energies, proposing nature as cognified matter. This is possible due to the technological and scientific research done towards textile production, which allows innovation to be right on the edge of the change in the perception of our habitats, ecosystems, bodies, social behaviour and interactions.
Designed by Hazal Yilmaz and Secil Afsar, the third prize winner Metaform uses 3D print cellulose and chitosan (deacetylated chitin) to create new human exoskeleton in order to improve human skin. The wearable piece is specifically designed for people with skin diseases like eczema, who are severely affected by extreme wet and dry weather conditions. The cellulose and chitosan made composite material (exoskeleton) is printed on cotton. With the help of air-permeable features of cotton, while it allows cooling down the body temperature to decrease the inflammation, it also enables the skin to breathe. Besides, to absorb the excess sweat on the skin and not to make it dry, hydrophilic cellulose and chitin made 3D print material is used.
In the design process, a 3D scan of the body of a model is used as a starting point. By running an agent algorithm over the body, patterns are created that are influenced not only by the shape of the body but also the eczema area. An innovative proposal with a new algorithmic design solution also comes with parameters such as materials, fabrication methods, and cost constraints.
The concept of BeeWear, designed by Abhishek Soman, reflects its purpose concerning the pollination backdrop, drawing parallels between humans, bee navigation and travel behaviour. The methodology is composed of studying bee morphology, creating a series of design iterations based on natural interaction and scale optimisation, functionality, geometries, fabrication processes, and supplemental fashion aesthetics. It caters to a holistic design aid, bridging the gap and re-establishing the link between humans and other species, by playing a proactive role in responding actively and passively towards the environment, refurbishing individual and social awareness and finally rethinking about the envelope of wearables.
Thus, this design project that acquired a special mention in the Wearable Technology category, through research proposes a wearable concept for humans, designed through the principles of bio-mimicry and its functionality that could potentially assist and aid pollination in urban areas (cities), semi-urban regions, and natural habitats.
The selected entries at Reshape 2019 brought together a wide array of creative approaches, and highlighted solutions in various domains such as computational matter, habitat and environment, living systems and design for interaction.