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OSA Review: Julia Koerner Unveils A 3D-printed Futuristic Insight

The Third Guest Lecture organised by OxArch, 10th November 2022

This time, we travelled faster than the speed of light into Julia’s pristine-white office in Los Angeles just in time (unfortunately, I am implying that the guest lecture was on Zoom) as she stunned us with her incredible innovation in 3D-printing in architecture, product and fashion design. She wasted almost no time in preamble and went straight into giving us glimpses of a cornucopia of 3D-printed masterpieces she designed, either individually or with partners (which often is the case because things often get too complicated and stressful without cross-disciplinary partnership, amongst human and robotic counterparts in her scenario).

3D-printer as the seamstress of the future- Julia populated our Zoom screens with one of her many biomimetic dresses (Koerner, 2022).

I suppose her career reached a new pinnacle as her work was literally featured all around the world in the form of costumes for the Marvel Film Black Panther. With a gentle grin, she described the process of designing them as a pathway full of untold mystery as she was kept in the dark of most details except some dimensions of the wearer. Anyway, the attention to details and the wow-factor were not compromised at all. Mentioning attention to details, you must go and take a glimpse of her research and investigations that went down to the minute 3D-printed threads! Amidst her flourishing 3D-printing adventure, Julia reminded us on the importance of understanding the limitations and shortcomings of 3D-printers and they are almost case, company and site specific, that is why she often printed smaller elements before assembling into a larger system. Unsurprisingly, behind all the publicised success, there were times when things (including technology) did not work out well as she juggled with tight deadlines and mounting anxiety.

Befit the Queen Mother- Julia's 3D-printed hat and sleeves and the unseen work behind it.

In terms of justifying 3D-printing's share in the future, Julia remarked on how far the technology has progressed since she started doing it years ago. Plasticity is an essential aspect as whatever post-loved designs can be melted down and remodelled into something new without having to compromise humans’ unsatiable desire on novelty with low labour cost and transportation cost as there’s lesser need to outsource materials and cheap labour. Hence, minimalism in material combinations is fundamental to ensure they can be disassembled and upcycled with relative ease. That’s her pitch into the potentials of 3D-printing and over to you!

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