Tessa’s Designer Pick – Behnaz Farahi and 3D Printing


Tessa Blokland  


Watching with one eye to the US elections 2020, and stepping with another leg into the preparation for the upcoming Formnext Connect event, I am opening this exciting beginning of November with a designer pick on Iranian-American designer, Behnaz Farahi. She is not only a designer, but also a trained architect, creative technologist, and – this is why I like her work – a critical maker working at the intersection of fashion, architecture, and interactive design.

One of her most recent works is these 3D printed masks, giving voice to the wearer.  On the website, you can read Farahi’s comment: “In the midst of so much social injustice in the world and in the light of movements for women empowerment, I would like to address ways in which art and design could offer novel strategies for resistance. Also while most feminist discourse takes a Western Eurocentric view, I hope this project opens up the discourse of feminism to a non-Western perspective.”

The 3D printed helmet, Synapse, is a wearable piece that reacts to the activities of the brain. The technology inside the headset ‘listens’ to your brain activity and can for example ‘put on’ your glasses without you making the act of putting on your glasses. The underlying intention of the project was also to explore the possibilities of 3D printing multi-materials. The project was supported by Autodesk Pier 9 and the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Another interactive wearable piece from Farahi is this 3D printed garment, called Bodyscape. The 3D printed garment, made from non-flexible material, is a sort of dance between movement and lighting, reacting to the movements and gyrations of the wearer.

This furry 3D printed top by Farahi we have featured before as you can read here and in my blog post on 3D printed fur-like materials. The basic concept of the top is that it moves and changes when it senses that someone is looking at it. The extraordinary advantage of 3D printing in the fabrication of the material is the fact that it is being printed in a single print run with varying density and behaviors.

The last project of Behnaz Farahi is this amazing colorful 3D printed collar, inspired by the male Anna’s hummingbird. As you can see in the video, the feathers of the bird can change color which was exactly the starting point of Farahi’s design. The 3D printed interactive collar, called Iridescence, is equipped with a facial tracking camera and an array of 200 rotating quills. These custom-made quills can flip their colors and start to make patterns, in response to the movement of onlookers and their facial expressions.

Iranian-American designer, Behnaz Farahi surrounded by her tools and equipment.

LEO Lane_Designer Pick_Behnaz Farahi

Each of Tessa’s designer pick is a curated group of 3D printed designs or projects from one designer or design studio. If you would like to offer a designer or design studio for Tessa, or if you have your 3D printed designs or projects you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest picks every week in your mailbox.

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