At So Catchy! we like to keep on top of the latest innovations in technology and fashion, and while trying to do so, we ran into Aldo Sollazzo and his project, RESHAPE. Whenever we meet people who are so creative, proactive and hardworking, we get a boost just by thinking about the brilliant future, full of new and interesting ideas, that awaits them, and us.
RESHAPE is an online platform that promotes research, education and production of digital ideas, based on innovative design and manufacturing processes that seek to create a new market based on the economy of knowledge.
Every year, RESHAPE organizes a competition centered on one theme. This year’s edition, “RESHAPE15 | wearable technology competition 2015”, will explore the peculiar mix between fashion and computation, an incredibly fertile and stimulating area. Data becomes beauty, interaction becomes emotion and as a result, a new esthetic emerges.
The RESHAPE competition is organized by Noumena in collaboration with the IaaC, Fab Lab Barcelona & Make in Italy Foundation, with the support of the Camera di Commercio di Frosinone, Beamit & Aspiin.
The winners of this most recent edition, Pinar Guvenc, Inanc Eray, Gonzalo Carbajo and Marco Mattia Cristofori from the US for their SPONGESUIT, the project is swimwear that is environmentally proactive, economically sustainable and intelligently manufactured, combining cutting edge 3D printing and nano-scale clean-tech material research.
Second place was taken by Selina Reiterer and Constantinos Miltiadis from Austria for their JUAN PABLO GEORGE & ME project. Third went to Emmanouil Vermisso, Mate Thitisawat, Boutros Bou-Nahra and Heather Akers from the US for their project, CAROTID Thermo-Regulator project, which tries to reinvent the traditional Ruff collar as a liquid ranslator for bodily emotion.
So Catchy!: Aldo, tell us how Reshape came to be.
Aldo Sollazzo: Salvatore Pigliasco, Communication Director for Advok, visited our studio, Noumena, and was surprised by how many objects we’d produced and had laying around after a year of digital experimentation. Salvatore proposed that I and my colleague, Matteo di Sora, to collect all of the objects in a catalogue and present them for sale online. And we liked the idea.
That’s how it all began, an interesting project that turned our attention to the real meaning, on a larger scale, of the digital movement that, until now, without knowing, we’d been leading.
With these experiences, we realized that in reality, an online store could be a jumping off point for something much bigger. That‘s when we decided to start doing collaborative and open experimentation, with the idea being that we would be able to more accurately define the link between design and production in the digital manufacturing movement: Reshape.
SC!: You recently launched your international competition RESHAPE15 for wearable technology, Can you tell us about it?
AS: This year’s Reshape was specifically focused on a topic that has interested us for some time here at the offices of Noumena. We believe that the textile industry will be the next sector that will be profoundly touched by the digital revolution. Until today, it has stayed at the edges of most innovative processes which have invaded other areas such as mobility, communication and architecture. Reshape15 is a test to see how designers are developing new strategies to define the role of textiles in the future.
SC!: Apart from RESHAPE, are you involved in any other projects?
AS: At the Noumena office, we are working on a number of projects, the majority of which are related to innovation, computational design and digital manufacturing. Together with the Universidad Veritas and the Forum for the Future, we’re participating in an interesting new project in Costa Rica, using drones to map out environmental conditions and the re-use of local prime materials, Glocal. In Barcelona, for the past year we’ve been working with the Department for Urban Development for Barcelona Regional to create a code to generate urban models that are optimized for multiple environmental factors, Dumo. We’re working with IaaC and Fab Lab Barcelona, who for us are points of reference. We worked with them on the Innovation area at the last edition of Construmat here in Barcelona. Starting in January 2016, we’ll be in Paris where we’re launching a program, Advanced Master in Computational Design and Making, with Francesco Cingolani from Volumes and the Ecole Des Ponts.
SC!: Are there any creative minds that you admire?
AS: That’s a difficult question even though it might seem generic. I’m very interesting in the work of many people: Greg Lynn, Roland Snooks, Raffaello d’Andrea, Neri Oxman, Skylar Tibbits, Daniel Widrig and many more. What I find most fascinating is the collective mind generated by the Internet. For example, the worldwide movement behind the Fab Labs, directed by Neil Gershenfeld has a lot of people behind it and is so powerful thanks to what each individual brings to the table. The same goes for Innovation but on a much bigger scale. Everyday, someone online leaves a seed that brings us closer to a new great change, to the future.
SC!: Which online platforms, trade fairs, congresses, websites or Instagram accounts do you make sure to keep your eye on?
AS: We’ve always taken part in the Maker Faire Europe. This year we’ll be presenting the winning prototypes from Reshape in a special exhibition. We’ve also played an active part, for the last few years at least, in FABX, the annual meeting of Fab Labs from around the world. The last one took place this summer in Boston at MIT. It was an incredible experience that connected us even more with the people who are bringing about radical change in the world of innovation. I like to follow the research that is taking place out there, and one of the ways I can do that is by checking out pages like Materiability, MIT technology review, the IaaC blog, Wareable and more.
SC!: Care to make a guess about the future of fashion and technology?
AS: I think that fashion will provide the world with a great opportunity once it truly comes together with technology. As I said before, this union will bring about the next big change. Technology will stop being an accessory and become an integrated system with our bodies. It will be an embed, a part of ourselves.
Synthetic biology, together with the experience of designers and digital production processes are opening doors to a new esthetic, a new technological paradigm. We’ll see through augmented reality, we’ll receive data in real time from our own bodies, integrated chips will tell us which medicines to take. I know that it sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ll arrive to this new reality slowly. But it’s already begun, there’s no turning back now.
SC!: What will you be working on after RESHAPE?
AS: In the Maker Faire Roma we’ll be launching a new collective instruction network to organize pop-up events in many of the Fab Labs that participate in Reshape. The goal is for our designers to bring their experiences to the communities that are in contact with these Labs. The result of the workshops in some cases will be the production of some products that we’ll also present online on the Made in a Fab Lab platform, our new partners.
SC!: Are there any dreams you have yet to achieve?
AS: I’d like to create an economically sustainable ecosystem around many of the ideas that surround us now, thanks to Reshape, our office and the community of creatives who we work with. I’d like to be able to give everyone the opportunity to make their visions into reality, to bring their ideas to life and to be an active part of this global change that was created by the digital revolution.
All images courtesy of Aldo Sollazzo and Reshape
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla