Porifera is a new jewelry collection by Nervous System inspired by the forms of deep-sea glass sponges. It’s 3D printed using an experimental Ceramic Resin from Formlabs.
Nervous System is a generative design studio that produces unique collections of art, fashion, jewelry, and housewares. What makes their work so unique? Because it bridges the worlds of computer science, maths, biology, and architecture, their artifacts made using emerging technologies and techniques.
Case in point is their early adoption of an experimental Ceramic Resin from Formlabs. Using this new material, Nervous System is launching their first-ever 3D printed ceramic jewelry collection. It’s called “Porifera,” and the entire line is inspired by the forms of deep-sea glass sponges.
The product line came together in just a few months, according to the studio, after they beta tested the latest formulation of the resin. Its genesis, however, is rooted in years of experimentation with various ceramic materials.
“Ceramic materials are really beautiful and have nice qualities. They’re inexpensive and strong, and they have this nice tactile feel; they can be glossy or more earthy,” says Nervous Systems studio co-founder Jessica Rosenkrantz.
“One of the things we’re most excited about is the ability to make objects you couldn’t make using any other ceramic technique.”
Rosenkrantz explains that super thin interconnected three-dimensional structures can’t be cast, because the green state of most ceramic processing is very fragile.
“But the green state of the 3D printing material is strong because it has resin in it. So we can make these super weird geometries that are super strong when they’re fired.”
Nervous System Testing Multiple Concepts with Ceramic 3D Printing
Exploring a range of concepts with ceramic 3d printing, Nervous System began with working on a tea set. After running into challenges printing the set’s cellular structures — and maintaining cost-effective production — they honed in on making a smaller product.
“We knew that we wanted to work with a ceramic 3D printing material for a while, but we didn’t necessarily know what we wanted to make,” explains co-founder Jesse Louis-Rosenberg.
“A teapot and cups are very large, so it’s hard to make them affordable, so we’re still working on that project. We wanted to start with something smaller, like jewelry.”
In parallel to exploring 3D printing ceramics, Nervous System has been investigating minimal surface structures, an offshoot of research conducted with New Balance. Recalling the geometries of glass sea sponges, the studio reckons that their interconnected, self-supporting shapes are ideal for printing with Ceramic Resin.
The team simulated the sponge geometries to generate forms that became the final necklaces and earring pieces for the collection. The pieces are finished by hand; sanded, glazed, and fired twice in a kiln up to 2350F, creating vitreous ceramic jewelry with a sumptuous glazed finish.
Would you like to learn more? Visit the Porifera Collection over at the Nervous System site for further details and pricing.