Small Scale Manufacturing

Prototyping and Initial Production Runs

The Smart List is a monthly list of multi-media recommendations on everything design, curated by Interwoven Design. As a group of aesthetically obsessed designers, there are a lot of beautiful products and objects we love and enjoy. These products make our daily lives special and inviting and we want to share them with you. This issue is a collection of small scale manufacturers for prototyping and initial production runs.

The Smart List: Small Scale Manufacturing

Print Parts

We rely on Print Parts’ impressive 3D Printing capabilities to conduct early design tests and validate ideas during our creative process. Their team of skilled additive specialists is always on hand to assist with printing parts and overcoming any challenges that arise.

Conveniently located in Manhattan, just a short subway ride away from our studio, Print Parts facilitates a swift turnaround of iterative 3D printed components. Their manufacturing lab excels at producing cost-effective prototypes and high-quality samples.

To ensure top-notch quality, every order is accompanied by a comprehensive Quality Assurance Checklist. This meticulous inspection is carried out by one of Print Part’s operators before the parts are dispatched for delivery. This way, all parties involved can rest assured that the components meet the required criteria.

via Print Parts

Athena 3D Manufacturing

Athena 3D Manufacturing was established in 2019 with a clear objective: to utilize 3D printing to produce top-notch parts at scale and competitive prices. Over time, Athena has grown its offerings to include a range of additive manufacturing methods like HP Jet Fusion and Markforged Metal X technology, post-processing services, CNC machining, injection molding, cast urethane, and engineering design services.With their ability to develop high-performance, quality parts quickly, Athena 3D helps us iterate quickly through 3D printing and even runs small production runs for us to develop high fidelity prototypes to our clients. Combining their exceptional components with our prototyping capabilities empowers us to fabricate fully functional, photoshoot-ready products with confidence.

via Athena 3D Manufacturing

Carbon 3D

Carbon® is a pioneering 3D printing technology company that empowers businesses to create superior products and accelerate their time to market. Their impressive client roster spans the globe and is particularly distinguished by innovative solutions in the automotive, footwear, and athletic industries. Among their standout projects, Carbon’s ongoing collaboration with Adidas stands out, where they utilize 3D printing to craft lattice midsoles for shoes.

Through their ingenious application of additive manufacturing methods, Carbon 3D has revolutionized lattice structures, allowing us to replicate foam-like qualities in plastic parts. This opens up unique use-case scenarios that were previously unattainable through injection molding or traditional 3D printing. Working alongside their personable and knowledgeable team, we’ve enjoyed a seamless process of iteration and prototyping.

via Carbon 3D

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Designs Created by AI

The Smart List is a monthly list of multi-media recommendations on everything design, curated by Interwoven Design. As a group of aesthetically obsessed designers, there are a lot of beautiful products, objects and events we love and enjoy. These recommendations make our daily lives special and inviting and we want to share them with you. This issue is a guide to Designs Created by AI!

The Smart List: Designs Created by AI

NASA’s new AI generated parts

NASA has submersed themselves in incorporating artificial intelligence, much like the kind we have all experimented with in creating images, text, and music based on human prompts. These one of a kind components, known as Evolved Structures, are now being integrated into space-bound equipment. This remarkable lineup includes astrophysics balloon observatories, Earth-atmosphere scanners, planetary instruments, and space telescopes. Designers, harnessing the power of CAD software such as Autodesk, nTopology, and Divergent3D, have been delving into the realm of generative capabilities for years. According to Ryan McClelland, a research engineer at NASA, these awe-inspiring structures, influenced by science fiction shows, have been meticulously generated using precise prompts. He further highlights that conventional manufacturing tools are typically not deemed capable of producing such unique parts. As McClelland aptly puts it, “Most people would simply find it hard to believe that these parts could be created through that process—until someone actually did it.”

via Fast Company

Sneakers designed with H.U.E. by DeepObjects and PUMA

Deep Objects began on a groundbreaking mission to develop an AI engine that relied heavily on human input. Operating covertly for nearly two years, the creative studio known as FTR has been at the forefront of this project. This “decentralized design studio” takes a million potential solutions and distills them into a singular outcome. Enter the Hueristic Unsupervised Entity (H.U.E.), an engine that has astoundingly showcased an array of sneaker variations. The creators elucidate that this tool serves as a means to explore, engage, and scrutinize technology in order to unleash creativity and advance the field of design. Deep Objects elaborates, stating, “Now, people and designers alike are actively and massively engaging with it, which holds immense power. At Deep Objects, our aim is to investigate how a more controlled and proactive relationship between designers, AI, and ‘consumers’ can yield extraordinary design objects.”


Paragraphica Text-to-Image Camera

Paragraphica, an innovative camera powered by artificial intelligence, has emerged as a remarkable creation. Devised by Bjørn Karmann, this lensless camera employs location data to provide users with real-time descriptions of their surroundings, which are then transformed into distinctive visual representations of the scenes. Equipped with buttons, the camera allows users to control the collection of surrounding data, including weather conditions and points of interest. These parameters grant users the ability to govern both the description and the resulting image. Karmann elaborates, stating, “Interestingly the photos do capture some reminiscent moods and emotions from the place but in an uncanny way, as the photos never really look exactly like where I am.”

via Designboom

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The Search for Sustainability

How New Materials are Shaping Industrial Design

In recent years, industrial designers have been challenged to find new materials that can meet the demands of today’s ever-changing world. With an emphasis on sustainability and functionality, the search for new materials has intensified, leading to innovative and inspiring discoveries that are changing the way products are designed, manufactured, and used. In this article, we will explore some of these new materials, including their functions and the impact they have on industrial design.

New Materials: An Introduction

New materials refer to the novel substances, composites, or combinations thereof, that possess properties and characteristics that make them suitable for use in the design and development of products. These materials may offer enhanced mechanical, electrical, thermal, or optical properties, as well as features such as biodegradability, sustainability, and reduced environmental impact. New materials may be developed through various approaches, such as advances in material science, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and additive manufacturing, and can lead to innovative products that address real-world challenges in industries ranging from healthcare to transportation to consumer goods. As such, new materials play a critical role in enabling product designers to create sustainable and high-performance products that meet the evolving needs of society.

The development of new materials has become essential in addressing environmental concerns and creating sustainable solutions in industrial design. One approach is to integrate living organisms into building materials, as seen in the bio-concrete tiles developed by Brigitte Kock and Irene Roca Moracia. These tiles are an innovative example of how new materials can address real-world issues by absorbing water and reducing urban heat island effects. On the other hand, bio-plastics offer an eco-friendly and biodegradable alternative to traditional plastics, significantly reducing plastic waste and its harmful impact on the environment. The use of these new materials demonstrates a shift towards a more sustainable approach to industrial design, leading to a greener and healthier future for our planet.


Bio-plastics are a category of materials that are derived from renewable resources and have gained popularity in recent years due to their sustainability and eco-friendliness. These materials are made from plant-based sources such as corn starch, potato starch, and sugarcane, which makes them biodegradable and environmentally friendly.

One of the most significant advantages of bio-plastics is that they can significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans, which is one of the biggest environmental issues we face today. Unlike traditional plastics, which can take hundreds of years to degrade, bio-plastics are biodegradable and break down much faster, leaving behind fewer harmful residues.

In addition to their environmental benefits, bio-plastics also have numerous practical applications in industrial design. They can be used to create a wide range of products, including coffee cups, cutlery, and packaging materials. These products are not only more sustainable, but they also offer a range of unique features and properties, such as heat resistance, water resistance, and durability.

One example of footwear that uses bio-plastics is the “Futurecraft Loop” sneaker, developed by Adidas. The sneaker’s upper is made from 100% reusable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is a type of bio-plastic derived from natural materials like corn and castor beans. The unique design of the sneaker allows it to be easily disassembled and recycled, with the recycled TPU being used to create new shoes. This innovative approach to design and materials creates a closed-loop system that minimizes waste and reduces the environmental impact of the footwear industry.

Overall, the impact of bio-plastics on the environment and industrial design is significant, and they represent a promising solution to the plastic waste problem. By using bio-plastics in their designs, industrial designers can create products that are both functional and sustainable, contributing to a more eco-friendly future.

Natural Fiber Welding: A New Material

Natural Fiber Welding is a technology that uses plant-based materials, such as cotton and flax, to create new sustainable alternatives to traditional synthetic materials like plastic and leather. The company behind this technology has developed a patented process that transforms natural fibers into a durable, flexible, and customizable material that can be used in a wide range of applications, including furniture, apparel, and automotive products.

The process involves using enzymes and natural chemistry to break down the plant fibers into their basic components, which are then reassembled into a new material that has similar properties to leather or synthetic fabrics. The resulting material is biodegradable, non-toxic, and more sustainable than traditional materials, as it requires fewer resources to produce and has a lower environmental impact.

One example of a product that uses Natural Fiber Welding is the “Mirage” chair by the furniture company Steelcase. The chair features a unique backrest and seat made from the company’s patented plant-based material, which is created using Natural Fiber Welding technology.

The material used in the chair is made from natural fibers like flax and cotton, which are processed using enzymes and natural chemistry to create a material that is both durable and flexible. The resulting material has a similar look and feel to leather but is much more sustainable and ethical, as it is biodegradable, non-toxic, and requires fewer resources to produce.

The Mirage chair is an excellent example of how Natural Fiber Welding can be used to create innovative and sustainable products that meet the needs of today’s consumers while minimizing the environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

Sustainability: Sourcing New Materials

One of the biggest challenges that industrial designers face when sourcing new materials is sustainability. With an emphasis on creating a more sustainable future, it is important that new materials are sourced responsibly and ethically. This includes ensuring that materials are not harmful to the environment or contribute to deforestation, pollution, or exploitation.

To overcome these hurdles, designers can use databases that provide information about the sustainability of materials. These databases can be found online and offer information about the environmental impact of materials, including their carbon footprint, water usage, and more. By using these databases, designers can make informed decisions about the materials they use, ensuring that they are sustainable and ethical.

Here are three databases where you can find information about new materials:

  1. Materials Project: This is a database that provides information on the physical and chemical properties of materials. It includes data on more than 100,000 materials and is free to use for academic and research purposes.
  2. MatWeb: This is a searchable database of materials and their properties. It includes data on metals, plastics, ceramics, and other materials, and is used by engineers, designers, and researchers to find materials that meet specific requirements.
  3. SciFinder: This is a database that provides access to a vast collection of scientific research, including information on new materials. It includes data on materials science, engineering, chemistry, and other related fields, and is used by scientists, researchers, and engineers to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in their fields.

In addition to databases, designers can also work with suppliers and manufacturers who prioritize sustainability. This includes sourcing materials from local or ethical sources, using renewable energy, and reducing waste and emissions. By working with these suppliers, designers can ensure that their materials are sustainable and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Getting Materials in House: Ordering and Cost

Another challenge that industrial designers face when sourcing new materials is getting materials in house to prototype and cost. This can be difficult, as many new materials are not readily available or can be expensive to source.

To overcome these hurdles, designers can work with suppliers who offer samples or small quantities of materials. This allows designers to test and prototype their designs

without committing to large quantities of expensive materials. Designers can also work with manufacturers who offer custom material development services, allowing them to create materials that meet their specific needs and requirements.

When it comes to cost, designers can explore alternative materials or look for ways to optimize their design to reduce material usage. For example, using lightweight materials can reduce transportation costs and lower the carbon footprint of the product. Designers can also explore ways to use recycled materials or incorporate waste materials into their designs, reducing the overall cost and environmental impact.


In conclusion, the search for new materials is an essential part of industrial design. New materials offer unique properties and features that can improve product performance, aesthetics, and sustainability. Bio-concrete tiles, bio-plastics, and natural fiber are just a few examples of new materials that are changing the way products are designed and manufactured.

To overcome the challenges of sourcing and using new materials, designers can use databases, work with sustainable suppliers and manufacturers, and explore alternative materials or design optimization. By embracing new materials and sustainable practices, designers can create products that are both functional and environmentally responsible, contributing to a more sustainable future.

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Design News N. 039

Interwoven Design News is your tiny dose of design, technology and other important news, curated monthly by Interwoven Design. In this series we share the latest on our favorite topics, including biomaterials in fashion, events, inspired craft, multipurpose wearables and flashlights designed to be built by children! In this issue: Encoded Craft by Tamara Anna Efrat, Stella McCartney made with BioSequins, Biofabricate Summit, Fog-X Jacket, and the Ambessa Play Flashlight Kit.

Photo: Dan Perez

Encoded Craft by Tamara Anna Efrat

By merging traditional embroidery techniques with algorithmic encoding, Tamara Anna Efrat, an artist and multi-disciplinary designer, creates textile objects that offer infinite possibilities and mesmerizing aesthetic textures and patterns. Her exploration of this process is driven by a desire to convey a profound understanding of the ecological entropy present in our oceans. Efrat hints at the conflict between humanity and nature by layering her artworks in various stages, including a ‘living’ wall, ‘living’ bodies, and another area that symbolizes the profound ecological transformations of the past century.

Having a background in fashion and industrial design, Tamara Anna Efrat combines her expertise with Grasshopper, a parametric design tool that utilizes mathematical patterns to generate intricate three-dimensional forms. Efrat skillfully integrates her technical knowledge with hand stitching techniques, occasionally preserving the shapes in liquid clay. This fusion of influences and techniques enables her to metaphorically illustrate the devastating impact of human activities and industrialization on nature and the traditional crafts.

via Designboom

Photo: Joran Quinten

Stella McCartney made with BioSequins

Stella McCartney’s skin-tight sleeveless bodysuit, adorned with Radiant Matter’s bioplastic sequins, has gained recognition in the latest edition of Vogue. As a British fashion brand, McCartney has upheld its commitment to being PVC-free since 2010, and has consistently launched initiatives for sustainable collections.

The mesmerizing iridescence of the BioSequins featured on the jumpsuit is the result of Radiant Matter’s groundbreaking work in developing sequins made from tree cellulose. Unlike previous plastic options in the market, which contained harmful carcinogenic chemicals, this sustainable alternative fills a crucial gap that Elissa Brunato, Founder of Radiant Matter, identified as an opportunity. In an interview with Dezeen, Brunato reflects on her past experience in fashion design studios, where she witnessed the disparity between the beauty of craftsmanship, the stories being conveyed, and the disappointingly toxic material choices. This firsthand adversity ignited her drive to seek a solution that is not only environmentally friendly but also aesthetically pleasing.

via Dezeen

 Photo: Alexander Kagan

Biofabricate Summit 2023

Get ready for the European edition of the Biofabricate summit, happening in October 2023! Engage in captivating discussions among pioneering innovators, scientists, and designers. Don’t miss out on the chance to attend their in-person networking event by submitting your application.

Biofabricate, a team based in New York City, brings their expertise to various industries such as fashion, sports, wellness, construction, and design. They combine materials with microbial-derived ingredients to drive innovation in biomaterial strategy and consulting on a global scale.

Mark your calendars for the Summit, which spans 3 days of showcasing concepts, prototypes, products, and invaluable networking opportunities. Join us in Paris from October 4-6 to be a part of this remarkable event.

via Biofabricate

Photo: Pavels Hedström 

Lexus Design Award: Fog-X Jacket

Pavels Hedström has recently received the prestigious Lexus Design Award in the publicly voted category for his groundbreaking creation, the Fog-X jacket. This remarkable jacket serves multiple purposes, functioning not only as wearable attire but also as a personal shelter and, believe it or not, a water catcher! Described by the Swedish designer as “low-tech,” it ingeniously captures water droplets from fog, mist, and rain, channeling them into an integrated water container. The jacket undergoes a fascinating transformation, expanding into a sail/kite-like antenna structure that efficiently captures these precious droplets.

The primary intention behind this concept is to provide a solution for individuals residing in regions plagued by water scarcity. To demonstrate its effectiveness, the designer conducted successful trials in Chile’s Atacama Desert, widely recognized as one of the most arid places on our planet. Although the estimated price of the product may exceed some people’s expectations, the underlying technology and the environmentally conscious approach remain remarkably accessible and cost-effective.

via Dezeen

DIY Flashlight for Ambessa Play, designed by Jon Marshall. Photography by Nick Rochowski, image ©Pentagram. 

Ambessa Play Flashlight Kit

Pentagram and Ambessa Play have joined forces to create a unique business model for their Flashlight, one that aims to make a positive impact on the lives of displaced children. With this partnership, for every flashlight purchased, another one is provided to a child in need, following a one-to-one model.

The Flashlight kit itself is ingeniously designed to be assembled by children, offering them an engaging way to learn about science and electricity. It operates without batteries, utilizing a dynamo to charge the capacitor that powers the LED lamp for approximately 15 minutes. This clever design choice not only eliminates the need for batteries but also ensures the safety of children handling the kit.

The collaboration between Pentagram, Ambessa Play, and charitable organizations such as Refugee Council, Care for Calais, Project Play, and Terre des Hommes has been instrumental in the development process. In fact, children themselves were involved in testing early prototypes, providing invaluable insights. Their feedback led to a redesign, resulting in a rectangular shape that conveniently fits into pockets, can be held in hand, or even worn around the neck. Furthermore, the packaging itself serves as a crucial element, offering instructions and organized components, making the flashlight assembly a seamless and enjoyable experience.

via Dezeen

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Designer as Artist

Exploring the Intersection of Design, Craft, and Art

Design is often thought of as a practical discipline, focused on creating functional objects or systems. However, design can also be seen as a form of art, with designers as artists who use their skills and creativity to produce beautiful and meaningful objects. The art of making, whether it be through design or craft, has evolved over time. Designers and makers have constantly sought to create aesthetically pleasing and functional pieces, and the question of whether a piece of design or craft needs to be functional remains a topic of debate. This article explores the relationship between design and craft, Designer as Artist, the role of aesthetics in both fields, and the differences between handcrafted and mass-produced pieces.

Craft and design have a long history of overlap and collaboration. Many areas of design, such as jewelry, furniture, ceramics, and fashion, are also considered crafts. The difference between craft and design lies in the production process. Craft emphasizes the action of creating something with your hands, using historic techniques and a mastery of materials. Design, on the other hand, often involves the use of technology, mass production, and a focus on functionality.

Design and Art

The boundaries between design and art have blurred over time, leading to the emergence of the concept of “designer as artist”. Many designers are motivated and inspired by materials, and find joy in mastering various mediums. For example, the furniture designs of Charles and Ray Eames are often considered works of art due to their innovative use of materials and attention to detail.

Another example of a designer as an artist could be the fashion designer Alexander McQueen. McQueen’s runway shows were known for their elaborate and theatrical presentations that often incorporated sculpture, performance art, and other elements beyond just the clothing. His designs were not only functional but also conceptual and thought-provoking, pushing the boundaries of what could be considered traditional fashion design.

Aesthetics play a significant role in the relationship between design and craft. The intricacy and attention to detail that goes into creating furniture or ceramics can be appreciated when examining them. Aesthetics are crucial in communicating the intended message of the piece in both design and craft. Although functionality is often a central focus of design, it is not always necessary for a piece to be considered good design. Some designs are created purely for their aesthetic value or to make a statement or evoke an emotional response. The same can be said for craft, where many are functional, but some are purely decorative or conceptual. For example, the glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly are considered works of art for their beauty and innovative use of color, despite not having a specific functional purpose.

Craft as a Preconceived Notion

The term “craft” often carries a negative connotation, as it is associated with being amateurish or not up to par with professional design. However, this is not always the case. The act of creating something with one’s hands can result in beautiful and functional pieces. Jewelry, furniture, ceramics, and fashion all fall under the category of craft.

While the method of fabrication is a key difference between craft and design, it’s important to note that there is often overlap between these two fields. While craft pieces are typically one-of-a-kind and made by hand, there are many designers who incorporate handcrafted techniques into their work, resulting in pieces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Similarly, while design pieces are often mass-produced, there are many designers who create limited-edition or one-of-a-kind pieces that blur the line between design and craft.

One example of a designer who blurs the line between design and craft is the fashion designer Rei Kawakubo. Kawakubo’s work with her label Comme des Garçons is often described as avant-garde, with pieces that challenge traditional notions of fashion and design. Many of her pieces are handcrafted, with a focus on the techniques and materials used to create them. While her pieces are often mass-produced, there is a strong emphasis on craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Another example of the intersection of craft and design is the work of the lighting designer Lindsey Adelman. Adelman’s pieces are all handcrafted in her New York studio, with a focus on the techniques and materials used in their creation. While her pieces are often produced in limited editions, there is a strong emphasis on the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into each piece.

The Future of Craft

There is a growing concern that craft is a threatened field. As technology continues to advance and mass production becomes the norm, the art of handmade objects is in danger of being lost. However, there are still many people who are interested in learning craft skills, and there are a variety of ways in which they can do so. While academic classes such as those offered by Pratt Institute, can be a great resource, not everyone has access to them. Many people learn craft skills from family members, friends, or online tutorials.

Despite the challenges facing the craft industry, there is still a bright future for handmade objects. Creative marketplaces, craft communities, studio rentals, and shared maker spaces are all helping to promote and preserve the art of craft. Additionally, there is a growing appreciation for the value of handmade objects, and designers and consumers alike are recognizing the unique beauty and quality that comes from a handcrafted piece.

Design and Craft: Learning from Each Other

Finally, it is important to recognize the ways in which design and craft can learn from each other. Hands-on making is an influential process that can make better designers, and designers who understand craft techniques can create more thoughtful and meaningful designs. One example of this is the success of the ceramics brand Franca, which emphasizes the importance of craftsmanship, design, and artistry in its products.

The relationship between design and craft is complex, with both fields valuing aesthetics and functionality. While craft is often seen as a preconceived notion, it can be a valuable skill that should be celebrated. As the creative industry evolves, the intersection of design and craft will continue to be a source of inspiration and innovation.

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