IMAGENERIA supports joint efforts for #OnlyOneEarth, the campaign for World Environment Day 2022 (https://www.un.org/en/observances/environment-day) led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and held annually on 5 June since 1973, World Environment Day is the largest global platform for spreading awareness about the environment protection.
In June 2022, IMAGENERIA initiated environmental public outreach and presented the opinions of designers Alberto Ghirardello (Italy), Lada Legina (USA), Jonathon O'Neill (Makuno, Australia), Kostika Spaho (Ica & Kostika, USA), Karan Gandhi (Hyper.MNML, India). These brands represent the new design age, digitally creating their lifestyle consumer goods and delivering them as physical real-world-use fashion, design, and consumer goods via the IMAGENERIA platform.
Created in November 2021, IMAGENERIA enabled brands to start selling their real-world use of fashion, jewelry, and homeware with zero inventory, fueling the on-demand economy. The platform works with digitally-manufacturable digital designs only and changes our perception of what is possible. One of the key technologies IMAGENERIA relies on is professional 3D printing. IMAGENERIA allows digital designers and brands to deliver their impossible to be traditionally manufactured creations to the customers in the real world.
IMAGENERIA is building the platform and SaaS for turning digital 3D-printable assets into metaverse-interoperable phygital 3D-printable NFTs. Users can take 3D printable NFTs anywhere in the Metaverse and digital space overall and get them turned into real physical products at IMAGENERIA on demand.
An interview with international designers presented at IMAGENERIA is the collective wisdom and a call for action to save our planet and build a sustainable future using sustainable ways of digital additive manufacturing.
Do you consider the environmental impact to minimize it when you start designing a new product?
Alberto Ghirardello: I always consider environmental impact during the design process, regardless of the type of product I am working for and the client that asked for it. Even if it is not among the main requirements of the briefing sent to me, I feel morally obliged to consider it. I believe that, as designers, we must be responsible for what we design or somewhat accountable for the impact that what we create has on the environment but also society. The genuine designer should be able to evaluate these aspects from the earliest stages of design, integrating them harmoniously with the company's expectations and thus enriching the final product with a particular awareness that can only benefit everyone: designer, company, society, and the environment.
Lada Legina: In my opinion, 3D printing has the potential to have a significant impact on climate change. It's similar to going vegetarian, using energy-saving technology, refusing to use packaging, and running fans instead of air conditioners in terms of environmental practices. Many of us are familiar with the many straightforward ways to mitigate climate change. On the other hand, 3D printing can lessen the impact humans have on the environment.
Jonathon O'Neill, Makuno: The design process should aim to balance form and function while minimizing materials. Designs that deliver a functional need, are physically beautiful, and use limited materials to achieve those goals are more engaging and beautiful. While the materials we use are all recyclable and usually sourced through recycling, clever design is also about minimizing resource usage, regardless of the materials.
Kostika Spaho, Ica&Kostika: When I first start a new product, I only focus on a form to bring the vision to life. It could take a day, a week, or months to develop the form first, so nothing physical has been made, not even a 3D print. When we realize a first physical form, we do that with anything the factory has that they can recycle or anything lying around in their space that we can use to bring the form to the physical shape. Depending on the volume, we have to consider materials. The products should be made in the most sustainable, recyclable way to minimize the possible footprint. It becomes our responsibility to consider everything.
Karan Gandhi, Hyper.MNML: The environmental impact and entire product life cycle are crucial elements to consider when designing a new product. I do not believe that sustainability is a trend; instead, it is more of a responsibility of an industrial designer to consider our work's impact on the globe.
Why did you start working with digital 3D design and 3D printing /additive manufacturing?
Jonathon O'Neill, Makuno: I've had a strong interest in invention and design for quite some time, and I find there is something so satisfying about going through the creative design process. Having an idea, sketching concepts, digitally prototyping, and then making it physical is fun and hugely rewarding for me. I love going through that journey with every new project. For Makuno, our interest in this space came from experimentation. We had an opportunity to access a large-scale 3D printer and wanted to see what it could do for full-scale structures. I guess the rest is history.
Lada Legina: Through 3D printing, I can express my company's creative independence while expressing my aesthetic ideas. I want to use my 3D art creations and 3D jewelry to positively impact the world and connect with others who share my values and interests. There is a whole world of fascinating stories and thoughts waiting to be uncovered by anyone who takes a closer look at the designs that I create. Every one of my designs tells a unique story about nature and our relationship to the world around us.
Kostika Spaho: Before working with digital 3D design, I sketched and drew, and then I physically made things, which took too long. I was much better and faster at sketching than making things by hand, or sometimes I was better at making things by hand, depending on the medium. However, my idea versus the physical did not match one to one, and then when I learned 3D. I like 3D because of its versatility, speed, ability to execute anything imaginable, and ability to move around the world with just a laptop. 3D printing changed the game. You don't have to rely on another human or make a group of humans to interpret your initial design. When you create in 3D, you don't have to compromise your design, and there is no room for interpretation by others.
Alberto Ghirardello: I initially started to adopt additive manufacturing as a mere tool to prototype projects on which I was working. The transition of additive manufacturing from a tool to an actual production technology occurred in 2017 when I started experimenting with some jewelry designs to be printed in FDM / FFF for a design contest held in Italy, which I eventually won. From there, I understood the immense potential of this technology to create finished products. I became passionate about digital jewelry, making it a bigger and bigger part of my work as a freelance designer.
Karan Gandhi, Hyper.MNML: I started experimenting with computation / digital design to experiment with innovative forms and functionality, think systematically, and iterate at speed with detail, which was not possible before. Additive manufacturing technologies have given designers the freedom to celebrate their ideas in a way that was just not possible through traditional means. As the industry has grown in the past decade, 3D printing has opened doors to sustainable and viable materials and processes to manufacture products on demand economically.
Today, many designers are choosing to create digital-only works. You use digital tech to provide the consumers with real-world-use design goods. What is the role of physical design goods in the age of Web 3.0 development?
Alberto Ghirardello: In essence, I think that the human being will always need physical, tangible goods that can satisfy his desire to possess, as well as the desire for novelty: to want something new is a part of our nature that does not make sense to repress or pretend it doesn't exist. Of course, this cannot be an excuse to let the obsolescence of objects take over. Still, we can not live with only existing goods without producing anything more and thus effectively blocking the economy. A healthy, responsible, and respectful mediation must be found, making it possible to produce new products at a sustainable pace and with environmental conditions.
Lada Legina: Even though we're excited about the future of the internet and the new wave of emerging technologies like Web 3.0, we still have to deal with real-life. And in this case, 3D printing is a not-too-distant reality that has the potential to transform the entire fashion industry into one that is not only more flexible, customized, and adaptable—but also more sustainable. This futuristic technology could keep everyone in style while reducing waste and coming up with creative solutions to the problem of overproduction in the fashion industry. 3D printing is the future of everyone's lives, especially those who are fashion-forward, so my mission is to use 3D printing to transform the fashion industry by creating new value and empowering consumers through forward-thinking designs.
Karan Gandhi, Hyper.MNML: As exponential and remarkable as the digital frontier is, we will always want to interact with the tangible as humans. The five senses are the core of our existence. To not engage our senses entirely is a demerit. As fun as it is to engage with objects only partially through digital mediums, we cannot at least yet engage and immerse ourselves fully. The digital-only experience leaves hollowness to our experience; I believe physical goods fill that void in the age of Web 3.0.
Jonathon O'Neill: I'm someone who loves functional forms, so the tactile connection to a real-world experience is essential to me. I see web 3.0 as an opportunity to expand an individual's ability for unique experiences. Still, I hope to use those same digital tools to create new opportunities for new physical interactions and forms too.
Kostika Spaho: Designers, including myself, want to create anything without limits and by doing it digitally because a design itself is about self-expression. If we talk about products for daily usage, those things are boring, but people need those every day, and there's an abundance of these shirts and pants. They are produced and sold more and more of what is not required. And the world needs the reduction of pretty much everything. What to expect in the future? Future fashion may look like the depiction of aliens - they're naked and working on their skin daily.
The solutions and the technology exist and are increasingly affordable, including additive manufacturing. "IMAGENERIA calls for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet and drives the global public dialogue on digital delivery and additive manufacturing to awaken global creative power and freedom to experiment, invent, design, prototype, and manufacture. At IMAGENERIA, we build a global talent community, join efforts and resources to make creators commercially successful in a digital economy, and achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals together", Julia Daviy, CEO and Co-Founder, IMAGENERIA, points out.