The English translation for the word aoku is ‘mysterious treasure box,’ and this is the feeling that the Hong Kong-based company aoku3D is trying to create for its customers. The site covers all kinds of categories for 3D printed items, including jewelry, home décor, fashion, arts & crafts, and accessories. The idea is that there’s a nascent international market for high quality 3D printed goods such as eyeglasses, handbags, watches, pens, lamps, and jewelry. aoku3D’s aim is to be ahead of the 3D printed consumer goods curve by offering a well-designed platform for easy browsing and purchasing of a wide variety of 3D printed items.
In an email to 3DPrint.com, Cyrus K. Hui describes the company:
“[aoku3D] is an e-boutique of personalized, hand-crafted iconic goods mainly by 3D-print; our mission being connecting designers worldwide with enthusiast-consumers for promotion of 3D-print consumer space which is at an nascent stage of development.”
A brief review of the aok3D’s beta version of its new online platform reveals that nascent is the operative term, both for the website’s holdings and for the consumer space it seeks to develop. It’s on the right track though, as more designers and customers will discover it. The site’s Jewelry category holds the most offerings, by far, and contains sub-categories: Necklaces, Bracelets and Bangles, Pendants, Brooches, and Rings. In Accessories, only one eyeglass choice is available, and one brand of watches (Tenvas). Under Fashion, two handbags are available, and one with the whopping price tag of about $980 USD.
Finally, Home Décor, has three different Winston Ip designs for lamps, and Arts & Crafts carries two different pen options–both by Bowen Song. The site also offers users the option of filtering items according to price (it offers 14 items all marked under $99 USD), designer, category, and material.
As for designers, several are listed under the Designer section of the site, including: Dr. Lionel T. Dean, Damien Chow, Edmond Wong, Desmond Chan, Marta Cherednik, and others. The designers featured on the site are critical for aoku3D’s vision of creating a ‘Designer-Consumer Destination’ web portal for high quality 3D printed goods, including several we’ve looked at before (like Tenvas watches and Desmond Chan’s Tree in Cross collection).
According to the site, the goal is to provide an outlet for emerging 3D designers:
“Part of aoku3D’s mission is nurturing of talented young designers; particularly those in Greater China. We co-develop new products with designers sharing intellectual property and licensing rights and provide an omni-channel communication platform connecting consumers with eco-labour-friendly disruptive innovations in a new era of ‘Neo-Consumerism’.”
Regarding this new era of neo-consumerism that includes ‘eco-labour friendly disruptive innovations,’ aoku3D does not spell out exactly how these items are eco-labor friendly, requiring us to assume that the labor friendliness is from the direct manufacturing and customized production that 3D printing affords, while environmental concerns get covered by the print-to-order model that skirts over-production and thus avoids wasted materials. 3D printing technologies are definitely changing the landscape of production and consumption, globally.
As the company platform evolves, it will be interesting to see how it grows and changes to accommodate the public’s desires, and the 3D designers’ works. Its aspirations to offer a ‘mysterious treasure box’ of 3D printed items is one that more people will most likely catch on to, as they also learn more about 3D printing’s customization options in general. Discuss this company in the aoku3D forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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