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Making Scents Unique: Viktor&Rolf and Formula 1’s New 3D Printed Perfume Bottles Are Striking

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Fashion house Viktor&Rolf turned to 3D printing technology to create a sumptuous rose gold dress of thorny branches and flowers for the brand’s iconic Flowerbomb perfume bottle. The 15 bespoke 3D printed creations are part of a new limited edition to celebrate the perfume’s 15th anniversary and can be exclusively purchased at the brand’s online shop for $2,500. Each set is created through Carbon’s digital light synthesis (DLS) technology, then polished and assembled by hand for an absolutely unique finish.

Similarly, Formula 1 (F1) and Designer Parfums joined forces once again with Welsh artist and industrial designer Ross Lovegrove – who created Formula 1’s first-ever perfume bottle in metal in 2019 – to design 3D printed exoskeletons to house five new scents that will have F1 aficionados reminiscing the thrills and excitement of the legendary races.

15 unique bottles were created for Viktor&Rolf’s 3D printed limited edition Flowerbomb fragrance. Image courtesy of Viktor&Rolf

The Viktor&Rolf project called “Flowerbomb Haute Couture” is part of a collaboration between 3D printing service provider ERPRO Group, Viktor&Rolf, and L’Oréal. For this ultra-luxurious edition, the designers wanted flowers as spectacular as the ones crafted for their Haute Couture garments, which are among the most eye-catching avant-garde collections in the world. The 3D printed case of flowers that envelop the bottle needed to be lavish and beautiful, but also thorny and bewildering, revealed the brand.

Company founders Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are renowned for conceiving wearable art designs that rely heavily on theatrical and performative fashion, with collections and fashion campaigns that tend to go viral. Much like this year’s Autumn/Winter 2020 collection, which revolved around the coronavirus pandemic and the different states of emotion related to the extraordinarily unusual times we are living in. The “unapproachable” coats covered in spikes and tubes as well as the silky nightgowns embellished with emojis are just some of the innovative lengths the duo will go to.

Viktor&Rolf’s Autumn/Winter 2020 collection revolved around the coronavirus pandemic. Images courtesy of Viktor&Rolf

Their ultra-modern approach to fashion also extends to their perfume brand. In an interview with Love Magazine, when asked to “choose a piece, a collection, a moment, to sum up Viktor&Rolf,” the Dutch design duo said unfailingly: Flowerbomb. Horsting even suggested that the perfume is a “message that resonates in the time we live.” Through the new deluxe bottle, the brand combines traditional craftsmanship and new 3D technologies, intended to bring an aura of technological transformation to one of the best selling scents in the industry.

Since the launch of Flowerbomb in 2004, Viktor&Rolf has introduced over 35 new editions or iterations of their perfume in collaboration with L’Oreal, but this 3D printed version is one of the most unique, particularly because rare bottles can make fragrances hugely collectible items. In fact, according to Alfonso Oliveira, Vice President of the International Perfume Bottle Association (IPBA), some of the most expensive bottles have been sold for $60,000, and each year, hundreds of people flock to perfume bottle auctions looking for unique pieces.

Finishing touches by hand for the 3D printed Flowerbomb bottle design. Image courtesy of Viktor&Rolf

For Viktor&Rolf, the new limited edition bottle lives up to the perfume’s name. Just like the luxurious fragrance carries whiffs of flowers, the exclusively designed enclosure is an explosion of 3D printed poppy flowers, Arabian jasmines, chrysanthemum, and rosa centifolias that embrace the bottle, adding a contemporary twist to a cult favorite scent. To produce the intricately designed ornament that “dresses” Flowerbomb, traditional techniques were discarded as Viktor&Rolf decided to focus exclusively on innovative new processes. Using Carbon’s 3D printing technology, the fashion brand combined its traditional savoir fair to create the bottle’s design, which is described by the company as “an object of pure desire for the most precious and explosive fragrance.”

For the Viktor&Rolf project, the ERPRO Group – Carbon’s first partner in France – used Carbon’s resin 3D printing with Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) technology to produce the custom bottle. This patented breakthrough process uses digital light processing, oxygen-permeable optics, and programmable liquid resins to produce parts with exceptional mechanical properties, resolution, and surface finish, as described in a groundbreaking article in the journal Science. Allowing engineers and designers to iterate faster, deliver projects with less risk, and radically reimagine their products by introducing consolidated parts, impossible geometries, and programmable lattices.

Carbon, a Redwood City, California-based digital manufacturing company, suggests that while traditional resin-based 3D printing processes produce weak, brittle parts, their technology manages to overcome this limitation by embedding a second heat-activated programmable chemistry in the materials, leading to high-resolution parts with engineering-grade mechanical properties. The visually stunning calligraphed case, hand-numbered in rose gold, for Viktor&Rolf was finished at ERPRO Group’s facility in the Parisian suburb Saint-Leu-la-Forêt, one of the company’s five production sites in France and main 3D factory.

While Viktor&Rolf focused on an unearthly, dreamlike bottle design, F1’s new creation embodies the roar of the engines, the tension on the grid, the audacity of the drivers, and victory celebrations on the podium – which attracts over half a billion fans every year. The F1 Fragrances Engineered Collection has also been designed with Carbon’s DLS 3D printing technology. Inspired by the elegant lines of an F1 car chassis, award-winning designer Lovegrove produced an intricate and stunning technopolymer resin-based exoskeleton to house the fragrance bottles.

“My thought behind the exoskeleton was on the one hand sustainability; to create something that hosts the fragrance bottle which can be replaced once used and re-inserted into the exoskeleton,” explained designer Ross Lovegrove. “And the use of 3D print which is extremely efficient, without waste; only the forms needed are produced, much like an F1 car. On the other hand, it reminded me of the safety cell for the drivers, the monocoque, as it protects the fragrance bottle in a similar way.”

According to the company, fans will be able to choose from five sophisticated scents, on sale starting November 9, 2020, through the F1 fragrances online shop. The scents, each housed in a 75 ml metalized flask and 3D printed exoskeleton, range between $259 and $333 each.

F1 Fragrances Engineered Collection. Image courtesy of Formula 1 Fragrances

This is not the first time a fashion brand turns to 3D printing technology to create an exclusive perfume bottle design. In 2016, fashion house Alexander McQueen collaborated with prototyping experts Malcolm Nicholls Limited to create an oversized 3D printed perfume bottle that went on display at Harrod’s. This was followed by a limited edition 3D printed bottle unveiled by French luxury cosmetics and perfume house Lancôme for its Jasmins Marzipane perfume. As the latest addition in this series of exclusive designs, F1 and Viktor&Rolf’s 3D printed bottles are a great example of the creative uses for 3D printing technology.

Viktor&Rolf’s new brand ambassador Anya Taylor-Joy holding the original Flowerbomb perfume. Image courtesy of Viktor&Rolf

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