Congratulations to Nervous System, whose Kinematics Dress was just acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (a prescient, pre-emptive move that might keep the curators of the Metropolitan Museum‘s Costume Institute awake for nights to come). While the physical product is certainly a head-turner, it’s the underlying technology that’s the true wonder—and maybe of greater interest and implication to architects.
In order to fit into a 3D printer, the nascent dress design had to be reduced in size. Factoring in idealized, actual, and intuitive aspects of material and performance, a computational folding program optimally shrunk the garment by 85 percent by folding it in half only twice.
Comprising 2,279 unique triangular panels linked by 3,316 hinges, the nylon dress was printed as a single piece over the course of 48 hours at the Shapeways facility in New York City.
It looks fabulous, but how does it feel? Nervous Systems’ creative director, Jessica Rosenkranz, answers, “I would not compare the dress to any other fabrics. It’s really quite different. Perhaps I would describe it as a kind of mechanical lace. While each part is rigid and has a textured feel, together they flow and fold. Fabrics often make a rustling sound, but our garment sounds more like thousands of tiny plastic wind chimes.”
A video documenting the fabrication of the dress was filmed at Shapeways.