OurOwnsKIN (2015-17) is an Innovate UK and Arts Council England funded, Bloomsbury Academia published, collaborative research project exploring the interplay between man, material, and machine to create innovative footwear design constructions inspired by human skin. The project places human over machines as design directives for 3D print lattices.

The aim is to harness the capabilities of 3D printing for a responsive structure and in preparation for future biotechnologies recognising the evolutionary path of automation of crafted footwear in manufacturing and how this impacts design.

The project ask’s whose skin? And could a deeper understanding of how our skin behaves as a material inform the design of 3D-printed shoes?

The team was comprised of myself (lead concept/ footwear designer), Manolis Papastavrou (bio inspired computational specialist/ designer) and Rhian Solomon (artist/ researcher whose focuses on human skin as a place of interplay of the materiality of ourselves the material world).

Outputs included:

  • Iterative prototypes and material samples for development and exhibition 
  • Film conveying the behavior of the footwear structures https://vimeo.com/530720473
  • Published book chapter – 
    Papastavrou M., Ciokajlo L., Solomon R. (2020), ‘OurOwnsKIN: The development of 3D-Printed Footwear Inspired by Human Skin’ in Townsend K, Solomon R, Briggs-Goode A, Crafting Anatomies: Archives Dialogues, Fabrications London: Bloomsbury Academia, pages 191-210.

the work was shared in exhibitions, talks and published including…

  • Bloomsbury Academia published (02-2020) collaborator team co-authored chapter ‘OurOwnsKIN: The development of 3D-Printed Footwear Inspired by Human Skin’ in book Crafting Anatomies: Archives Dialogues, Fabrications
  • Exhibitions and talks Wild at Somerset House, London (2016), Material Anatomies at Digit2Wigets, London as part of The Design Festival (2017)

A bit about the Crafting Anatomies book from the authors… 

Crafting Anatomies places the human body at the center of a transdisciplinary exploration, revealing how it acts as a catalyst for craft-based collaborative research, using archives, creative dialogues, and technologically advanced fabrications. As the book demonstrates, nothing happens without collaboration in fashion and textiles, which involves intense, creative dialogues at all stages of the process (Anderson 2017). Increasingly, this applies to all contemporary artistic design practice—where the tradition of the “isolated auteur” and mastery of a specific discipline is challenged by the provocative and disruptive nature of information and technology (Mower 2017).

The Project received funding from Innovate UK, MVWorks (The Arts Council, Innovate Uk and with support of Knowledge Transfer Network), and Ravensbourne Research.