I’m republishing today an interview with Freedom Of Creation's founder Janne Kyttänen. I recently did this feature for online publication Zoot Magazine.
In the last few years three-dimensional technology has offered designers, film-makers, photographers and creatives all over the world a vast array of possibilities. But there is actually one specific application – 3D printing – that promises to radically revolutionise our lifestyles in future.
Maverick designers, such as Janne Kyttänen who has been experimenting with 3D printing for over ten years, have actually proved that this technology is already providing us with unlimited possibilities and endless inspirations.
Born in Finland, Kyttänen studied at Amsterdam's Gerrit Rietveld Academy, graduating in 2000. Inspired by the experiments based on 3D printing and Augmented Reality he developed as a student, Kyttänen founded a pioneering design and research company, Freedom Of Creation (FOC).
The latter specialises in designs made using 3D printing techniques, including furniture, interior design pieces, but also small accessories such as jewellery and bags, created by an online network of international designers and creatives (in Kyttänen’s vocabulary the “FOC Talents”).
Some of the designs, such as the lighting systems, chairs and stools, are characterised by futuristic curves and abstract motifs; the jewellery pieces - some of them created by Dutch designer Ted Noten, others designed by the FOC Talents - and the rings (the most affordable items on the site, starting at roughly €12.00) move at times from natural or architectural shapes and provide in some cases social commentary on modern relationships.
FOC has, since 2000, developed new 3D software products and industrial materials for rapid manufacturing, collaborating with famous companies and brands, including Hyundai, LVMH, Nike and Philips, and launching its own collection of objects. Some of these designs were acquired by prestigious museums all over the world for their permanent collections or by famous architects to furnish stores, hotels and restaurants.
The company also established its own online store, carrying products from the FOC Collection and offering a marketplace for other brands who use FOC’s services to develop new products using 3D printing.
During the latest edition of Milan Design Week the company presented its collections and also launched ‘Lightnest’, a wall light with a futuristic alien mushroom-like shape designed by Frederik Roijé.
While FOC is a personally successful venture for Kyttänen and for the creatives involved, it is also indirectly pointing consumers towards innovative solutions to improve their lives. So far companies mass produced objects, decreasing the value for the individual and increasing waste, FOC provides instead highly creative products without needing large infrastructures, incuding investments, stock and manual labour, and, above all, guaranteeing a decrease in waste and pollution.
Years may pass before each of us will have in their own houses a 3D printer, download files for products from the internet and produce them by ourselves, but Kyttänen and Freedom Of Creation are positively suggesting us that our 3D printing future is maybe not so distant.
During the latest edition of Milan Design Week Freedom Of Creation (FOC) presented Lightnest, what was the audience's feedback to this project?
Janne Kyttänen: Design lovers really appreciated Lightnest: as all Freedom Of Creation lighting collection pieces, its design is stunning and something new, never seen before, but at the same time fluid and welcoming.
What was the most inspiring thing you saw during Milan Design Week?
Janne Kyttänen: Tom Dixon’s metal stamping.
3D printing has recently turned into a trend with designers experimenting with this technique: what fascinates you about it and which in your opinion will be the most exciting applications this technique will have in future?
Janne Kyttänen: 3D printing technologies allow us to produce forms, geometries and complexity that would be impossible with any kind of traditional manufacturing, or via subtractive CNC processes. We use CAD programs - Studio Max, Maya, Solidworks or Cinema 4D - to conceive our objects and upload the files in a 3D printing machine in order to start production. FOC was the first company to specialise in products made entirely via 3D printing - and we absolutely apply this fantastic plus to our advantage. The very nature of 3D printing means that we do not have to invest in expensive moulds or manufacturing processes and we can "print" our designs wherever we identify partners in any country in the world.
There are a few fashion designers who have been experimenting with 3D printing, how long do you think it will pass before this technique will be more widely used in the fashion industry?
Janne Kyttänen: I had my own “fashion label” when I was 10. I have always wanted to create a new way of manufacturing products, and handle logistics, storage, waste and so on, and this included textiles. The idea of a 3D printed textile was and still is fairly revolutionary. When Jiri Evenhuis, my founding partner in Amsterdam, told me about his discovery, I was hooked to work on it and wanted to see if we would be able to make the needle and thread finally obsolete. FOC first developed these textiles 13 years ago: at the time no one thought it was possible, but many technological "break-throughs" that went into textile design made the whole process possible. 3D printing allows us to think about the unthinkable, and this opens a realm of possibilities in the world of fashion, accessories and textiles. FOC has used these textile designs to create numerous products: shoes, purses, electronic accessories - each one distinguished by a sense of the fantastical that seems familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.
Does 3D printing really represent the new industrial revolution?
Janne Kyttänen: 3D printing techniques allow you to pretty much create any complexity you want, produce things locally, send your designs across the world via email and even have no stock. Designing is becoming as easy as cooking pasta or singing in the shower. Everybody is given the possibilities through technology of using various platforms.
FOC has so far collaborated with different talents and designers, which has been the project you worked on that excited you the most?
Janne Kyttänen: The one that I will create tomorrow!
Who has been the greatest influence on your career choices? Any specific designer?
Janne Kyttänen: To be honest I have no idea. I am quite a loner within my thoughts, so my brain is my biggest mystery. Somehow I realise only 10 years after I do something that I have actually created it and that’s when I understand how I ever got to creating it...but in a strange way it always made sense to me at the time.
What would be the biggest thing you would ever make using 3D printing?
Janne Kyttänen: I have plenty of dreams every day. I always dream of coming up with the most unexpected thing. One of my dreams is entering a 3D printed building in the near future, even though it's hard to tell at the moment when this will ever happen…
Which are the most popular products sold through the FOC store at the moment?
Janne Kyttänen: The Dahlia and Palm lamps are the most appreciated designs so far. We're also continuing to expand our offer of brand new designs for lamps, furniture, accessories for mobile phones, jewels and textiles.
What are you working on at the moment?
Janne Kyttänen: Cleaning the office: I am still hands on with the most trivial things in life!
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