Curator Alexander Lotersztain, aimed to connected designers with new technologies and provided essential market research, rather than a standard exhibition, Lotersztain invited a group of accomplished designers to create a piggy bank prototype. The project includes a people’s choice award and an industry award to support the future commercial production of one of the designs.
The designs were created virtually using 3D computer modelling software and then produced through a 3D printing process in which successive microscopic layers build up a three dimensional object. The models were deliberately left unfinished to reveal a critical phase of the design process, but Capital Growth also offers a glimpse into a future in which 3D printing is part of every household. To date it has been used primarily to make affordable prototypes but the technology is rapidly improving and machines can now ‘print’ in a wide range of materials from high-grade plastics to metals, which means they can make finished products. Indeed, Lotersztain predicts a near future in which consumers download products from cutlery to jewellery, customise these to suit their individual taste and then ‘print’ them out at home. Commercially, as the scale and capabilities of the printers continues to increase, they may ‘print’ entire buildings.
3D printing has huge potential. It will revolutionise the design industry and democratise design, creating changes as radical as those recently seen in the music industry. Also, as 3D printing is an ’additive manufacturing’ process (objects are built up in layers) it requires less raw material than traditional manufacturing methods and the machines can also produce incredibly complex forms. With this technology designers are only limited by their imagination. The fantastic piggy banks in Capital Growth, which chart the history of the piggy bank from its ancient origins into a hi-tech future, illustrate the astonishing outcome of creativity let loose.