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DIALOGUE: Julia Koerner | Architectural Designer

HY Clutch Bone | Image: Elena Kulicova

We talked about her work and production practice with Austrian designer Julia Koerner, who works at the intersection of architecture, product, and fashion design and is internationally recognized for her design innovation in 3D printing.

Who is Julia Koerner? Can you briefly tell us about yourself?

I am Julia Koerner, Founder, Creative Director and Head of Design at JK3D Vienna and LA. Furthermore, I am an Associate Adjunct Professor at UCLA School of Arts and Architecture at the Department of Architecture and Urban Design where I have been teaching since 2012.

As an award-winning designer working at the intersection of architecture, product, and fashion design, your work in 3D printing is at the pinnacle of these disciplines. How did your journey from architectural practice to 3D printing costumes develop?

As a pioneer in 3D printing wearables and fashion design I collaborated with renowned Haute Couture Houses in Paris and the Hollywood industry. Twenty years ago I explored 3D printing architecture models at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and the Architectural Association in London and collaborated with product and fashion designers on some of the first additively manufactured design creations in the industry. Together we pioneered 3D printing wearables and fashion design. These include collaborations with established Haute Couture Houses such as Chanel and Iris Van Herpen; 3D printing companies such as Stratasys, Materialise and Crystal Glass Manufacturer Swarovski; and the Hollywood Industry such as Marvel Studios.

Images by Ger Ger(1, 3), Valerie Maltseva(2), JK3D(4)

How do you evaluate the transformation created by 3D printing technologies in the worlds of fashion and architecture?

A decade ago the 3D dresses I designed debuted on the runways in Paris, now part of prestigious permanent museum collections around the globe. Meanwhile advancements in technologies and materials have led to greater possibilities within the fashion industry. With my brand JK3D we have brought 3d printing fashion accessories to the market and made them wearable. At UCLA Architecture and Urban Design I research with graduate students the application of large scale sustainable 3D printed building facades as part of the "Fit For the Future" Research Design Studio.

As a designer who has realized 3D printed costumes for Hollywood productions such as Marvel's Black Panther, what was it like to work on projects of this scale?

It has been a fantastic experience to collaborate with Ruth E. Carter and her team at Marvel Studios on the realisation of the costumes for Black Panther and Wakanda Forever. The contribution has led to winning two Academy Awards for costume design and has provided credibility and recognition in the industry.

Images courtesy of Marvel Studios

Which of your works has excited you the most regarding the design process and the final product?

The Crystal Lamellas manufactured with Swarovski's high end glass 3D printing technology. The vessels are unique in their aesthetic and design process and have been exhibited at Italian Glass Weeks in Venice, Schloss Hollenegg in Austria and published in the New York Times. They showcase the possibilities of mass customisation, personalisation and potential of circularity towards a more sustainable future or production processes.

Images by JK3D

What factors do you consider when researching materials or choosing materials for your new projects? Can you tell us a bit about the material choices in your work?

The choice of material comes along with the choice of technology, there are many different 3D printing technologies existing, each with their unique capabilities and constraints. Usually I know which technology I will be working with from the beginning and then design for that specific technique and material. Therefore all of my designs are unique in aesthetics, design and optimised for the specific technologies.

What do you do to refresh your inspiration? Who are the names you follow with curiosity in this field or different disciplines?

I spend time outdoors in remote natural environments and travel to distant exotic places. Nature is my biggest mentor.

Are you excited for the future? What are your plans?

I think the future is now, and I believe we have to create opportunities and make changes to rethink our industries of fashion and architecture today and not tomorrow, if we plan for our human species to survive. Peace and Sustainability are my main priorities.

Images by JK3D


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