desall-barilla_720x720Back in my day, wagon wheels and vague dinosaur shapes were considered the height of sophisticated pasta shapes. I never would have imagined three-dimensional roses and cratered moons, but that’s what technology does – makes things cooler. It does a lot of other things, too, of course, like save lives, but you can’t deny that fancy pasta shapes are a delightful use of 3D printing. We’ve been following the development of Barilla’s 3D pasta printer for a couple of years, and it was a contest offered by the pasta company in 2014 that led to the creation of those pasta roses, moons, and vortexes.

If you missed your chance to come up with your own pasta designs in 2014, now you have another chance. Barilla is sponsoring another pasta design contest, this time with the help of design platform Desall. The Smart Pasta competition is accepting entries from now until March 1, 2017, with winners to be announced at the beginning of May. Entry is simple: create a 3D printable design that you’d like to see realized in pasta form, then upload the design files and a PDF brief to the contest web site.

There are several guidelines to keep in mind. The challenge invites you to think big, as 3D printers can create pasta much larger than typical methods of cooking can. Get creative, push boundaries, and think about not only aesthetics but taste. I only recently realized that the wide variety of pasta shapes aren’t designed just to look neat, but to interact with sauces and other ingredients in very specific ways. How can the geometry of your design affect flavor and texture?

For example, the “Lune” design that was one of the winners of the 2014 contest is a hollow sphere that allows the sauce to seep in through holes and pool inside, for a much different taste experience than that of, say, spaghetti. You can also look at the “Rosa” design, another 2014 winner, which actually “blooms” in boiling water. Try experimenting with geometry that changes shape.

Rosa pasta

Three winners will be announced at the beginning of May, and each will receive a prize of €1000. Feasibility, creativity and consistency with the design brief will be considered in choosing the winning designs. There’s no limit to the number of entries you can submit, and participation is free, so get creative! For inspiration, you can check out some fun food designs here.

pastafBarilla is also offering a €1000 option right for any designs that the company is interested in purchasing for commercial use – whether they’re winning designs or not.

“Barilla, always attentive to innovation and technological development, is looking for new pasta shapes specifically designed for the innovative 3D printer for pasta, first announced at Expo 2015 and presented to the public at CIBUS 2016,” the contest promoters state. “Barilla, which is about to celebrate the 140th year of activity, now relies on the community of designers and creatives of Desall to explore the huge potential made possible through this new production technology, conveying into an innovative shape the values and the care for tradition that have always characterised the Barilla brand.”

Read more details about how to enter here. For additional inspiration, check out the video below:

Discuss in the Barilla forum at 3DPB.com.

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