Parametric Dreams (Ep. 1) - Democratizing Eyewear Design!

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Parametric Dreams is a new space we've opened specifically for early entrepreneurs and students to share their stories and projects involving Parametric Design.  Every world-renowned designer was once a student and we believe every student dream deserves to be heard!

For our first episode we interviewed Annapaola Vacanti. She's a student from Italy who needed a platform to present her latest idea: Parametric Eyewear.

- Hi Annapaolla! Thank you for agreeing to this interview. How old are you and what's your background?

Hello! Thank you for having me here! I'm 25 years old and I have a Bachelor's Degree in Design at the University of Genoa, Italy. I'm currently concluding my Master in Product and Event Design and this configurator (embedded down below) is actually part of my final Thesis.

- Who inspired you to study Design?

In my family tree no one was really working in the field of design or architecture, but I remember that my mom had a really creative personality, which probably influenced me in wanting to express my own creativity through my work.

When I had to choose a course of studies though, I was very confused and even started Law School for a year! But I soon realized it wasn't the career I wanted for me and decided to follow my instincts and go for Design. I haven't regretted a moment ever since.

- Tell us about these frames. What need or problem do you try to address with them?

I used to need eyeglasses while I was growing up and I always felt ugly and uncomfortable while wearing them. My idea here is to give users a tool to create their own eyewear and feel good about it!

Mass customization is the future of design, there's no doubt about it, but the Eyewear Industry is mostly still based in old paradigms and ways of thinking. Frames are objects that are tightly connected to a person's identity and I think that choosing and wearing them should be more fun!

- When did you come up with this idea? How long have you been working on it?

Last year I spent a semester in Finland with the Erasmus+ Program and by chance I took a class where we had to design and manufacture a pair of acetate frames. When I went back home I was really fascinated by eyewear design and decided that it would be the topic of my Master Thesis. After that I developed the idea of a modular frame and was introduced to Grasshopper by one of my University mentors.

- Could you briefly explain how you created this Grasshopper model?

Sure! Creating a fully working model that could be shared with every type of user was quite challenging and I really have to thank my mentor Andrea Quartara for helping me through this whole process.

We worked on just half of the frame, and then we went and mirrored the other side. The model is built around the center of one lens, using three arches of 120 degrees. On one of these we built the bridge, the two others are the custom components.

The custom curves are imported and internalized into curve components and then we created a definition to be able to scale them with the object. The frame is basically made of simple extrusions to which details are added later, such as the nose pads, the lens bevel and the joints.

- How has 3D printing influenced this design? Why is it divided into 5 pieces?

The main idea of this project was to have a balanced base for the model, which could be edited all the time by switching components. The final model is divided into 5 pieces to make it stable but mainly to enable a wide range of aesthetic variations.

The central piece is very important because the size of the nose is what makes a frame comfortable or not. The other are the parts where the personal taste of the user is more involved. With this design, it is possible to have countless combinations of pieces, both symmetrical and asymmetrical.

3D Printing puts a lot of boundaries in the design process, especially for the joints, which couldn't be too small, and for the detailing of the model. The result is relatively easy to print using FDM technology because it has a plane base and few small details.

- When you think of Parametric Design, what comes to your mind?

The first designer I think about is Zaha Hadid. Her amazing work has been very inspirational to me. I love both her architectural work and her products. 

Every time I'm in Rome I like to visit the MAXXI Museum and I think I am more fascinated by the building structure rather than the showcased exhibitions!

- What's your next step? Do you have other ideas involving Parametric Design and/or 3D Printing?

The online platform of the project is now live at frameopensource.org so everyone reading this blog can definitely go and check it out!

If people show enough interest in it I would definitely be willing to develop it further, maybe with a deeper study on materials and printing processes.

In general, I want to keep working in the field of additive technologies and parametric wearables, because I think it has a great potential to shape our future.

- This all sounds amazing Annapaola, thank you very much for giving us some of your time!

Thank you as well for giving me this opportunity to show my project and vision to the world!

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That's it for our first episode of Parametric Dreams! You can know more about Annapaola's work directly at her website or Instagram account!

Would you like to be featured in this space? Make sure to contact us! Just send an email to contact@shapediver.com and tell us about your work!


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