Fashion designer Francis Bitonti shares how 3D design became part of his processes and how he perceives it will change the design industry as a whole
Designer Francis Bitonti runs the ‘disruptive luxury brand' Francis Bitonti Studio which adopts a unique methodology of blended computer driven techniques and cutting edge manufacturing technologies. The studio was created in 2007, when then architect/industrial designer, Francis became involved with a competition held by the New York City Department of Transportation. Bitonti was a finalist in the competition, creating an eco-friendly and cost-effective bike rack that didn't sacrifice on design, capable of being reconfigured into over 800 different versions of itself.
Focusing on process, technology applications and contemporary design, Francis Bitonti Studio has continued to concentrate on a variety of cutting edge projects, including collaborations with fashion designer Katie Gallagher and the creation of the 3D printed dress for burlesque icon Dita von Teese, leading up to the launch of their luxury goods collection in 2014.
Francis is not only interested in creating a contemporary formal language through digital design, but also in transforming the way goods are bought, sold and distributed. Like many others, Francis views 3D printing as the next industrial revolution. He operates under the assumption that materials are media. Therefore, material goods are compressible and shareable in the same way as a film or song, so design and production can similarly be digitalized, dematerialized and decentralized. Developing these ideas, Francis Bitonti Studio recently revealed the exciting Cloud Collection with 3D Hubs and MakerBot. Francis talks to us about these exciting projects…
Squiggle - A 3D print bike rack developed for the New York City Department of Transportation
How did you find your way to 3D design? Did you study CG or are you self-taught?
Everything Forever - 3D printed stainless steel and leather belt designed for Katie Gallagher's Spring/Summer 2013 Collection
I was self-taught. At the time there wasn't any way to learn these tools aside from some tutorials on the internet. I studied architecture and they were using CAD tools but they all seemed so limiting. They all seemed to be designed around some outdated concept of manufacturing. I started using Maya
as a student in architecture school and started using mostly animation tools for my design work. It wasn't long before I started writing my own code and developing my own tools.
What are the key softwares and processes you adopt when creating your impressive designs?
Fiber Table was created using custom developed algorithms reconstructed using software used in the medical industry for reconstructing MRI data
I work with a wide variety of design software, when people ask this question I usually joke that we use everything. We develop many of our own tools, but we also rely heavily on Autodesk Maya and Rhino
. It's important to use a wide range of software. Our techniques generally require us to work across many platforms, most of the forms come from aggregating operations, and the work is very procedural. I do very little explicit modeling. I look at software as a medium, the way any artist would look at oil paints or clay. We are constantly experimenting with new softwares and processes.
Bristle Chair Bristol Chair is designed for direct digital manufacturing using FDM 3D printing technology
You mentioned that you are interested in creating a contemporary formal language, could you please describe how you envision this looking?
Hempitera cast metal chair achieve their thin lightweight appearance by introducing a complex series of internal structural cavities that strengthen the large continuous spans
It is difficult to describe. I think the best thing to do is to look at the work that I've been doing for the past 10 years.
In all of this time, my work has been dedicated to defining what the next industrial revolution will look like. What we need to do with these tools? How are we going to express ourselves in ways that we never put before and uncover new parts of human psychology at the same time?
The work is about being able to manage complexity. Complexity that is beyond the comprehension of the human mind. It's about our post-human condition. It's about managing variation and intricacies that not only could we not construct physically but also mentally. It's about becoming part of the machines by extending ourselves into the machines. It's about collaboration with artificial intelligence.
It's difficult to describe but I think there's enough work at this point that we can look at it and understand.
An LED lit 3D printed mask
next page >
Details of the prototype mask