Paper-based 3D printer makes jewellery with a statement
“Mcor is a great tool for us as a fashion brand. It allows us to expand our exploration of new methods of reuse by using digital fabrication techniques in tandem with traditional handcrafting.”
-Joanne Hayek, Co-founder and Designer, VANINA
The most sophisticated consumers wear jewellery that, to some extent, defines them; it’s a stylish means to express their unique emotions and personalities.
But for one fashion brand, the jewellery it creates conveys infinitely more than whether its owner is feeling elegant, playful or professional.
VANINA, the self-proclaimed ‘Responsibly Capricious’ label established in Beirut, Lebanon by childhood friends Tatiana Fayad and Joanne Hayek, continually examines the synergy between fashion and sustainability.
Over the years, VANINA has evolved from a single jewellery line that explored the concept of up-cycling by creating unique pieces of jewellery out of devalued Lebanese Lira into an internationally distributed lifestyle fashion brand. Present in the world’s trendiest markets, including Paris, Tokyo, Florence, Dubai and New York, VANINA creates collections of handmade pieces, that are known for their unique aesthetic and materiality, infusing vintage and modern styles with a strong sense of fun.
Yet, beneath their light and playful glamour, VANINA products hide a passionately engaged activism. The company designs and produces statement jewellery, for example, as a form of art capable of carrying a message – in this case an environmental one.
From used paper to wearable jewellery
They set out to explore new methods of reuse by creating a collection of fine and unique statement jewellery called ‘Leaves’ using a combination of digital fabrication and traditional handcrafting techniques.
“The starting point for the design was the idea of using paper as a raw material, which could be transformed into a new object, and thus carry on a second life,” said Joanne Hayek, Co-founder and Designer at VANINA. “Taking it a step further, we chose to work with used papers, in line with our environmental policy that focuses on raising awareness about waste management issues and maximising reuse in our collections.”
From there, VANINA designers drew inspiration from the natural geometries of tree leaves. They conducted research to pair the fractal logics of the leaves to those of traditional hand-carving techniques. The result was a set of formal guidelines that were coded and then digitally modelled using Rhinoceros and Grasshopper parametric design software.
VANINA selected an Mcor paper-based 3D printer to produce the final, end-product jewellery pieces, as well as the prototypes, primarily due to the technology’s various eco-friendly qualities, including its use of safe, non-toxic and biodegradable water-based adhesive, sustainable paper and low energy use. “We wouldn’t have used 3D printing as a manufacturing tool if it wasn’t eco-friendly,” said Hayek.”
Mcor 3D printers are the world’s only true, full-colour, paper-based 3D printers and the most affordable, safest and eco-friendly. They create complex, durable and stable physical 3D models from paper at 10-20% the cost of any other 3D printing technology. Mcor 3D printed models can be tapped, threaded, hinged, made water resistant and flexible. They can print hollows and moving parts and they can even be disposed of in the recycling bin for cradle-to-grave sustainability.
“The high resolution of the Mcor 3D printer is suitable for our detailed needs and enables us to build shapes that are self supporting, allowing for spans without requiring temporary supports, as is the case with resin- and plastic-based 3D printers,” says Hayek.” Additionally, VANINA appreciated that an Mcor 3D printer can be left printing reliably unattended overnight without jeopardising their facility or products.
“We adopted an iterative design process, which allowed us to optimise and calibrate the pieces based on the specifications of the 3D printer,” said Hayek. “Various rounds of prototypes were made to ensure we were working in line with the minimum thicknesses of the machine in order to resolve details such as piercing through the pieces to allow for chains and earring bars, edges of the leaves, and more.” Since the VANINA designers were working with small pieces, attention to detail was key in the design development phase.
Although Mcor 3D printed models are durable, the final 3D printed jewellery pieces were treated following printing to enhance their strength and then coated with sparkling paint for aesthetic appeal. Swarovski crystals and metal were also applied to the 3D printed pieces to complete the designer’s vision.
In high demand at the finest shops
Constituting VANINA’S new ‘Conceptual Jewellery’ line, the company’s first release of the paper-3D printed ‘Leaves’ collection includes six necklaces and three pairs of earrings. The pieces are currently exhibited in Avant-Premiere in the brand’s showroom in Beirut. They are part of the 2016 collection and will be distributed internationally in VANINA’s online shop and at high-end boutiques and concept stores such as Colette in Paris, Luisa Via Roma in Florence, La Rinascente in Milano and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong.
And, there are plans to increase the number of pieces produced on the Mcor 3D printer. “The ‘Capsule Collection’ is produced at a rate of 100 pieces per month, which corresponds to approximately 1500 used paper sheets that are reclaimed,” said Tatiana Fayad, Co-founder and Designer at TA. “Later, we plan to expand the collection. We project this rate to speed up to about 1000 pieces per month for the coming season.”
“Another reason we were able to use Mcor 3D printing is because of the availability of the machine in Beirut at Arab Printing Press (APP) and the great customer service of both APP and MoreThanPrinting (MTP), Mcor’s representatives who introduced this affordable 3D Printing technology to the Middle East and Africa,” adds Hayek. “We believe Mcor is a great tool for us as a fashion brand. It allows us to further expand our exploration of new methods of reuse by using digital fabrication techniques in tandem with traditional handcrafting.”