logoOne of the great things about 3D printing is how it inspires the imagination to make previously unthinkable objects. In fact, some 3D designers say they would not be able to even conceive of certain projects without the technology. This is also one of the features that makes it so much fun to watch 3D printing evolve: the technology lends itself to some really wild and novel design concepts. What better way to check some of these design ideas out than to have an annual competition? Since 2013, i.materialise has been acknowledging 3D designers with its “Designer of the Year” award, and the company is looking to do the same again in 2015. So, designers, get ready. And let’s also briefly review the previous two top winners in the competition to get a good idea of what i.materialise is looking for from 3D designers.

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The first “Designer of the Year” award in 2013 went to Italian 3D design team AmniosiyA, which is known for its “futuristic fashion accessories and architectural models in polyamide.” You can see the incredible design detail in the piece “Pacific Ocean Platform” (see photo above).

Next, in 214, the 3D sculptor Danny van Ryswyk stole the show with his surrealistic and dark-themed 3D sculptures, such as “White Rabbit Figurine” (see photo below). Last year, 3DPrint.com reported that Ryswyk was chosen because of his strong style and “darkly wondrous” art. The fact that he won the competition reveals that i.materialise’s jury for choosing nominees and winners is very open to cutting-edge design to accompany 3D printing technologies’ own cutting-edge nature.

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And van Ryswyk is not done contributing to this year’s design competition! In fact, he has contributed a new trophy design for this year’s competition, which is quite unlike his other darker works. This trophy is a bright yellow hand, printed in wood, holding up the index finger, as if it’s confidently gesturing “I’m Number One!”

And now, in 2015, what brave designer plans to assume the mantle of i.materialise’s “Designer of the Year”? How do you enter? You can either tag i.materialise on social media–take your pick among their Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook pages–or post your design project up to the forum. Three nominees will be selected, and then from those finalists a jury will select the top designer. First place winner will receive a trophy printed in wood, a prize package, and a gift voucher from i.materialise.  Discuss this story in the Designer of the Year forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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