Alice Etcaetera – “3D printing gave me a new freedom as a designer”

 

Alice Etcaetera

Portrait “Alice Etcaetera” © Claude Weber

 

After studying product & furniture design in London, Alice went to work in Paris for two great designers – Andrée Putman and Pascal Mourgue – on many projects for the home & luxury industry.

These major opportunities gave her the freedom to create “Alice Etcaetera” in 2010 – a sustainable design studio – while collaborating on a broad diversity of projects: craft & industrial, contemporary & traditional, on various scales.

Very curious about manufacturing techniques by nature, Alice actually started working with 3D printing because of a “missing skill” to produce her first silver jewelry collection.

What was your very first experience with 3D Printing? 

My first experience with 3D printing technologies was in 2010 when I created my own collection of silver jewelry made in France & named “Grigris”. As I did not have the know-how to produce my own wax originals (classic jewelry making process), I decided to imagine a new production process mixing contemporary technology with classic craftsmanship.

I designed and 3D printed my originals (in laser sintering polyamide powder) then gave them to my open-minded craftsman to transform them – with his traditional silversmith skills – into beautiful and unique solid silver rings (classic “lost wax” technique & hand-polished). 3D printing gave me a new freedom as a designer: it allowed me to materialize exactly the form I had imagined  & created in 3D modeling, directly into a solid object.

What are your main inspirations?

My work philosophy has been the same for 20 years: “I love simplicity, showing the beauty of materials & craftsmanship. My aim is to imagine timeless designs which contribute to positive and sustainable dynamics… in dialogue with a diversity of contemporary & traditional identities, at a small or large scale, for the home, fashion and luxury markets.”

I am influenced by Japanese aesthetic, Scandinavian design and the Art Déco period: I love “warm minimalism”. Very much inspired by Charlotte Perriand, a collaborator of Le Corbusier and major French woman designer from the XXth century. Her ambition was “the sincere and constant research around a way of life connected to its time”.

Why using 3D printing for your creations? 

For two reasons, creativity since iconic designs are always connected to a technical innovation of their time, and sustainability since this technology allows to rethink production, as well as business models.

Designing a jewelry making method gave me the freedom to imagine a collection of 24 different rings “Grigris” while designing a unique experience: a series of small architectures for the body, pieces of solid silver, raw, smooth, ultra polished and golden shimmers, to be composed freely and made to measure. It offers variations of materials and dimensions which can be combined endlessly. By mixing 3D printing and traditional silversmith, I could create a unique detail for the “Grigris” jewelry line: I chose to show the printing stratum “mystery lines” in the final silver rings (raw silver versions) as a contemporary & minimalist way to create “naturally” decorative engraving.

“Essentielle”  is a tableware set in 3D printed ceramic which was printed locally by the French 3D printing service company Sculpteo.com. This collection is composed of three universal functions to eat & drink: a plate, a bowl, and a cup, that can be stacked up into a compact form for everyday use. Following my sustainability goal, the ceramic set is made to order online in a choice of 8 colors, creating a new sustainable economic model with no stock. Like the jewelry collection “Grigris”, “Essentielle” tableware is the result of mixing high contemporary technology with classic craftsmanship. Designed and printed in 3D ceramic (laser sintering specific compound powder original), then glazed at more than 1000°C (classic ceramic enamel technique). I love this dialogue between old & new… “roots & wings”.

3D printing is a precious tool to develop new virtuous – environmental, social & local – business models with no stock “made to order” and also “made to measure” concepts. We can design infinitely and rapidly produce on customer demand, requests, and interests.

This fast technology allows creating a diversity of tailored & unique sustainable solutions.

Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?

A collective multidisciplinary art project named “Pages Blanches“: a white book connecting talents and demonstrating that creativity is everywhere… in art, science, business & nature!

What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?

The solar powered 3D sand printer by Markus Kayser. In the middle of the desert, he is creating a glass bowl using: the sun as an energy source, the sand as a primary material, a lens to concentrate a light beam that is melting the sand “silica” into glass layer by layer… So simple & magical!

What do you consider game-changing technologies in additive manufacturing?

The shortcut now possible: going directly from design into production “Future craft 4D” as an example, the collaboration between “Carbon & Adidas” for the manufacturing of a sole trainer.

How do you see design and 3D printing in 10 years?

A perfect duo to design sustainable solutions with eco-labeled primary materials and carbon neutral productions “made to order” – referring to the Cradle to Cradle eco-systems and values.

Have you run into any challenges from being a woman designer and entrepreneur in 3D Printing? 

Yes, like many women in other fields: I had to work double to make my way as a designer, but luckily “passion” opens many doors!

Today, the more I create & the more I realize the power of imagination. “Dreaming & making” means everything is possible!

In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?

To have inspiring women role models… mine are three major designers from the 20th century: Eileen Gray, Charlotte Perriand & Andrée Putman.


Thank you for reading and for sharing! 

We invite you to join Women in 3D Printing on LinkedIn and to like our Facebook page for further discussion

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