FK chats to creative couple Vei and Patrick of Melbourne based 3d printing and design label MIMAW.
Tell us about your label MIMAW and what the concept is behind it?
MIMAW (short for Micro.Macro.Workshop), is a creatively driven design and 3d printing studio operating in the intersection of design, craft and technology. It’s also the sister studio of our architectural practice, SUPERSCALE. We have a huge passion for combining emerging technologies, traditional methods and hand crafted design to create not only unique and beautiful pieces, but also little functional and imaginative pieces that inject delight and embed itself in the everyday. We love everything bold and playful with an attempt to allow everyone to take regular flights of fantasy. Like a personal diary, MIMAW’s work is also a collection of ideas primarily generated from self-initiated projects and research. We always test and research in both digital and physical to develop new techniques and processes for small scale 3d printing and craft, expanding its possibilities for design.
What is your background and how did you start working with 3d Printing?
My partner, Patrick and I both graduated from Architecture in 2011 and our skill set really complements 3d printing and hand craft techniques. MIMAW was actually born while I went on a hunt for my first architecture job and with the economic downturn it proved very difficult to find employment. My partner found a job but I never did! As they say, “if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door!” Hence, out of intense curiosity and the hunger to create and explore ideas, we purchased our first 3d printer in March 2013 and spent a lot of time learning, understanding and testing its capabilities. After quite some time with no better prospects in the job hunting side but with so much ideas – MIMAW was officially launched in 2014.
How has your creative style developed over time? What inspires your work?
We’ve realised (after quite a bit of reflection) that we’ve developed a lot of ideas during our architecture years that it has naturally progressed into the things we make. We both have very strong interests in celebrating the banal, everyday objects and artefacts and making them the exceptional. My thesis was closely related to this topic and it has been very interesting to see it manifest in a product scale and not buildings. Patrick teaches design in architecture and the studios that he teach embrace these ideas. Patrick and I often discuss about ideas and we both bring different things to the table every time. We don’t always agree with each other, but we realise that it reveals different opportunities and interesting designs we can test and develop. Lots of little things inspire us! From architecture, urban artefacts, games, infinite play and the everyday objects that we often overlook. At the moment, the studio is still in its infancy, so it’s safe to say that we are still testing a lot of new ground.
What is your workspace like? What is your creative process?
We’re currently in the process of constructing our new studio space. We’re designing a collaborative creative hub where we can be surrounded by other artists, makers and designers. Our creative process always starts out with brainstorming ideas through hand sketching and understanding it enough to begin to translate it into a 3d digital model using CAD programs. We then 3d print the digital models. If we are developing a new idea or product, we tend to have a lot of digital models and hand painted printed prototypes before we end up with a piece that we are happy with. We then finish the prints with more traditional methods such as hand painting. We’re big fans of the 3d printed texture so we always try to incorporate it with the final product.
What do you love about working with 3d Printing and what are some of the challenges?
There are a lot of challenges and usually, there can be a lot of tweaking involved with the 3d printers before you get it right. Factors such as temperature, resolution, tolerance, build plates, the list goes on and on. There is definitely an art to it to get the perfect print and we haven’t even talked about the digital modelling side! Having said that, it’s such a great time to be experimenting with 3d printing as it’s still very much in its infancy. New models and materials come out every time and we love seeing our projects turn from sketch, to digital model, to physical form. We also like the control in terms of a production line to the point that we always design the production process itself. We’ve even gone so far to design the process tools to make production much more efficient. The process is never linear and one test is not enough. It’s a constant reflection and asking if we are portraying our ideas well.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
We’ve had a great time developing our plastering and hand painting techniques with 3d printing that we’re currently researching new mixing techniques with other materials such as clay and resin. On the drawing board are plans to develop our production techniques and be able to find stockists that share a similar passion to us. A market tour is also in the agenda starting this December till next year and spread the 3d printing bug and finally, develop more products that bring delight and joy!