Eyewear and associated accessories have expanded over the years to include a wide range of styles for all ages, and 3D printing just allows this to continue further. It is a perfect product category, which can be easily customized for the user and 3D printing can enable digital products to be created, which are inventory free and can be purchased online or 3D printed in people’s homes.
Glasses USA is one of the largest online eye wear retailers in the world, so it makes sense for them to experiment with 3D printing and how it may give them opportunities in reducing inventory, but yet creating more tailored products for their customers. The sharing economy has disrupted countless industries in the past from Napster disrupting the music industry to Airbnb doing the same for hotels or Uber for taxis. A big wave will lift all the boats.
Janne created a line of eye wear products, where the purpose was not world changing designs, but rather very iconic and timeless shapes, which appeal to a wider audience and where features are easily customized by providing the users the right files for various types of 3D printing technologies.
The project quickly gained a tremendous following in the 3D printing community. What is especially interesting to note, is that since anything you publish in the internet keeps on living its life, the files are still being downloaded, shared and further customized by makers around the world.
In 2001, Janne saw an opportunity for Materialise to reach the consumer with new products using existing manufacturing tools.
Janne approached the CEO and proposed that the company create a new consumer focused department in order to target new customers and extend their product offering.
The executive team approved the project and a new department called MGX was founded. The purpose was to sell upscale design products which Janne designed and produced using the company’s tools.
In 2002, the initial products were lights, which became the first high end and high volume consumer products created with 3D printing. The products won countless awards around the world and were purchased in several permanent design collections in leading museums in the world. The first 3D printed art work ever acquired by MOMA in NYC were Janne’s lighting designs in 2003.
This not only created new profitable business for Materialise but it disrupted the industry and led the way for countless other consumer products to follow.
“His contributions to the field of designing with 3D printing are very significant because they are the first of their kind. He was the first designer to address a wide range of disciplines within this field, such as lighting, footwear, textiles and furniture. He was also the first to create an Augmented Reality platform back in 1998, which connected a future world of home 3D printing to a seamless consumer experience, which questioned the need for physical transportation of goods in the future.”
Paolo Antonelli, Senior Curator, Architecture and Design, The Museum Of Modern Art