Over the past decade, 3D printing has been hailed as a transformative force, with the potential to revolutionize everything from affordable housing construction and coral reef preservation to the manufacture of synthetic limbs. It can also be used to generate a pair of killer stilettos.
Rendered possible by advanced computer modelling technology, the unisex stilettos are made from either steel (using a binder jetting process) or plastic (using an SLS printer). After being printed, the steel shoes are infused with bronze, creating an alloy of 60 per cent steel and 40 per cent bronze.
Inspired by nature – and sporting names like Mycelium, Seahorse, and Spine too boot – Exobiology’s designs are defined by their fluidity. Evoking molecular forms, spinal structures and plant root systems, they exude a kinetic energy that belies their weighty presence.
Weighing anywhere from five to 32 pounds (mostly depending on the choice of steel or plastic finishes, and sizing), the hefty heels are described by Ica & Kostika as “shoe sculptures” rather than shoes. So, although they are a guaranteed showstopper, they’re not likely to hit the street – or the ballroom – quite yet.
First released in extremely limited quantities in January, the Exobiology collection is now available, made to order, around the world. Pairs range in price from USD $500 to almost $14,000, and can be specified in custom finishes.
Still more novelty than high fashion, Ica & Kostika’s designs hint at the expansive possibilities of 3D printing. More immediately, the sculptures make for a unique conversation piece – especially once they’re put on.
The Portland studio is the latest to give 3D-printed shoes a whirl – to stunning effect.