Photos by Christian Coleman
As co-founder of an award-winning architecture firm in Los Angeles, Jenny Wu is more than familiar with the potential of rapid-prototyping technology. So when she decided to take a crack at jewelry design in her spare time, Wu already knew that three-dimensional printing was her answer. Her efforts resulted in "Lace," a line of intricate pieces that translate her avant-garde aesthetic into wearable statements. "My firm, Oyler Wu Collaborative, has been utilizing line-based geometries in the design of installations and buildings for some time," Wu tells Ecouterre. "I see the jewelry as an extension of the architectural inquiry, but now applying it to the body. We weave together intricate combinations of lines to create unique, three-dimensional pieces."
Comprising necklaces, rings, and earrings that intertwine in dizzying, unexpected ways, Lace pushes the limits of 3D printing as a medium.
To bring her vision to life, Wu collaborated with Stratasys, the same 3D fabricator behind some of Iris van Herpen’s more ambitious couture garments.
Wu credits Stratasys’s technologies for ease with which she’s able to create different layers, densities, and gradients in a matter of hours, rather than months. All this, she says, would have been difficult to accomplish with conventional metalsmithing.
Because of 3D printing’s versatility, Wu is also able to play around with different materials, from thermoplastic polymers (such as nylon) to cast sterling silver. The technology, she adds, is poised to dominate the ready-to-wear fashion market.
“3D printing is transforming the design industry,” she says. “And the possibilities for the fashion and accessories markets are endless.”