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3D Printing Meets Design: From Hollywood to Her Own Label JK3D – Interview with Julia Koerner

Austrian designer Julia Koerner works at the intersection of architecture, product design and fashion and produces 3D-printed bags and home decor centrepieces under her own label JK3D. As a pioneer in the field of 3D printing, she is internationally recognised and particularly successful with her 3D printed creations for Hollywood films, including the impressive costumes for the Marvel films Black Panther and Wakanda Forever. Among the museums that have exhibited her work are the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum of Applied Arts MAK in Vienna. In 2019, she was named ‘Architecture’s Queen of 3D Fabrication’ by Archinect. In an interview with 3Druck.com, Julia Koerner provides insights into her work and shows what possibilities 3D printing technology offers, especially in the fields of architecture and fashion. 

Born in Salzburg, she studied architecture at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and at the Architectural Association in London. She has been working intensively with various 3D printing technologies and materials for 20 years and has successfully utilised them in the fields of fashion, product design and architecture. As an absolute pioneer in this field, she designed some of the first 3D printed outfits for Parisian fashion houses back in 2012, which can now be seen in permanent collections in numerous museums around the world. 

Mission in Hollywood

Julia Koerner designed 3D printed costumes for the Marvel movies Black Panther (2018) and the sequel Wakanda Forever (2022), both of which won an Oscar for Best Costume Design. The impressive headpiece and collar of Queen Ramonda in Black Panther were designed by her and produced in collaboration with 3D printing service provider Materialise using the SLS process. The material chosen for this purpose, polyamide 12, actually produces strong and rigid objects, but the specially developed structure made the laser-sintered polyamide flexible. The resulting parts were flexible enough to be worn comfortably by actress Angela Bassett, yet rigid enough to retain their shape. For the sequel Wakanda Forever, Koerner developed a new 3D printed crown and necklace.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Ramonda (Angela Bassett)..Ph: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

Further projects and own label JK3D

The designer’s other innovative projects include collaborations with the manufacturer Stratasys for 3D printing on fabric, 3D printing of glass in cooperation with Swarovski and concrete 3D printing on an architectural scale with the construction technology company ICON.

The designer currently commutes between Los Angeles and Salzburg and previously worked in London and New York. Since 2012, she has been teaching architecture and design at UCLA University in California, focussing on innovative manufacturing methods and design processes.

With her own label JK3D, Julia Koerner has created a brand in 2021 that is characterised by its unique design. She produces distinctive handbags and home decor pieces made from sustainable materials using a 3D printing process. Her inspiration comes from structures and shapes found in nature. For example, the KELP collection is based on natural kelp structures that can be found on the Pacific coast.

Kelp Bag 2022 ©JK3D Photo JK3D

Interview with Julia Koerner

In an interview with 3Druck.com, Julia Koerner explains what she thinks 3D printing means for the fashion world and gives an insight into innovative projects she is working on in the field of 3D printing.

In your opinion, what significance does 3D printing have for the fashion industry?

3D printing gives me the opportunity to rethink fashion and use innovative technologies. This means that I can use new materials and work processes that are local, resource-saving and sustainable. Over the last few years, I have developed many exciting new approaches that give 3D printing more prominence. 

Additive manufacturing has developed continuously in recent years. Which innovations or technological breakthroughs do you consider particularly important for your work in the fields of art, fashion and architecture?

Julia Koerner, Photo by Florian Voggeneder

The most important breakthrough was definitely the ongoing development of machines and materials. By reducing the associated costs, I was able to realise my designs in my studio in Vienna and LA and develop faster and more sustainable work processes.

What I definitely also find very exciting were the first flexible dresses I created with Iris Van Herpen and Materialise, fabric 3D printing with Stratasys and glass 3D printing with Swarovski. 

Only recently have I started working on large-scale 3D printed designs, which I find extremely exciting as an architect. We won an Honourable Mention in ICON Build’s Initiative 99 international competition and are now developing the affordable housing project further. 

What impact do you think additive manufacturing will have on various industries and possibly on society as a whole in the coming years?

I believe that 3D printing has and will have a very positive impact. For me, the technology enables completely new collaborations with different disciplines, bringing together different areas of design. I also find it exciting that I can produce my designs locally, sustainably and on demand, without overproduction. The use of sustainable energy and materials also plays a big role and I can realise very unique designs. 

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