Porsche is a name that has become synonymous with quality and craftsmanship and the bracelet designed in its image by Gijs Bakker is no exception to that association. The bracelet was created as part of the Sense of Wonder collection by chp..? in which designers were asked to consider industrially produced jewelry in a way that moved beyond its material and functional aspects. The request asked for the creation of poetic pieces for a collection meant to evoke a sense of wonder. The foundation Chi ha paura…? (chp) was established by Bakker in conjunction with Italian gallery owner Marijke Vallanzasca and described what they had in mind:
“With this collection chp…? wants to emphasize new technology’s expressive potential (materials, techniques, procedures). On the other hand, it was not meant to make the use of this new technology compulsory, since traditional materials may also be used in an expressive manner and call up with sense of wonder too. Whatever the perspective chosen by the designers, the piece of jewelry had to be designed as a means of communication in order to bring about wonder, surprise or amazement in the field.”
This call was particularly timely as Bakker had been working on a series of pieces that explored the differences between men and women in relation to objects desired. The series he created developed from the idea that while women find jewelry to be alluring, men are more likely to be wooed by the image of a sexy car. With this in mind, he created a set of brooches that combined automotive styling with a precious gem meant to be attractive for the woman to receive and eye catching for the man to behold.
For this call from chp, he responded by creating a bracelet in the form of a Porsche that could be worn by either men or women, as indicated by the two different sizes in which it is produced. The first iteration of this bracelet was produced in a clear blue plastic resin that was cast from a printed mold. However, since its production, the art of 3D printing in metal has gained a lot of ground and this latest version is therefore printed in a black, scratch-proof chrome finish.
The chp…? collection Sense of Wonder is elevated by the participation in the creation of its pieces by designers such as Ron Arad and Marcel Wanders, but Bakker is no hanger-on of coattails. His name has a weight in luxury as well as the founder of Droog Design with pieces in the collections of museums around the world such as the Stedelijk in Amsterdam, the Cooper-Hewiit in New York, and the Victoria and Albert in London.
The bracelet was created using a ‘new’ technology that is the object itself of much wonder. The world of 3D printing is, at the very least, perceived of as being male dominated. The idea of using this technology to create jewelry is sometimes seen as a way of introducing women to the enjoyment of its use but in this piece, Bakker works in the opposite direction. Here, 3D printing is a way of introducing men to the enjoyment of jewelry. The question then becomes, will men be more interested in jewelry if it is created using attractive technology? Or is the appeal heightened when it is made so that it embodies forms they are taught (?) to find within the realm of male aesthetics? Will men wear this because it is a masculine version of something feminine and women because it is the feminine version of something masculine? Or is it possible with this that a greater attraction is seen in relation to class status than gender at all?
These are the types of questions that Bakker must have considered during this creation and that will invoke criticism and praise from a variety of quarters. The democratic method of 3D printing is gendered and classed and jewelry is an area particularly rife for this type of exploration. Herein, both the Porsche and the jewelry are utilized to appeal to a wider audience but with a price tag of just over $1,000 may in fact only work to shore up the developing class distinctions within this emerging technology.
Join the discussion in the Porsche of 3D Printed Bracelets forum thread at 3DPB.com.