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Shapemode’s SIKKA Project wins Expo Dubai 2020 Design Competition by combining textiles and 3D printing

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Shapemode, a leading 360° 3D printing solution provider based in Northern Italy, has won the Expo Dubai Design Competition with SIKKA, a unique project based on the innovative combination of textiles and 3D printing technology.

Created by a team of architects and designers from the Polytechnic and the NUMEN Institute, SIKKA breaks new ground in digital textile technology and will have the honor of representing Italian innovation during next year’s Expo event to be held in the UAE.

The SIKKA project was presented at the HOMI 2019 fair in Milan, as part of the Design Competition 2019. This “call for ideas” is dedicated to teams formed by a collaboration between designers and enterprises. It was promoted by the Lombardia Regional administration and the Chamber of Commerce, coordinated by Milan’s Polytechnic University.

After being selected by a highly qualified jury, the SIKKA project along with other winning entries will be exhibited at Expo Dubai from October 2020 to April 2021 and, even before that, at other national events focusing on design.

Shapemode CEO Salvatore Saldano, third from the left, with the team behind the SIKKA project at the award ceremony
Shapemode CEO Salvatore Saldano, third from the left, with the team behind the SIKKA project at the award ceremony

“It has been a long and exciting journey. I would like to thank everyone that supported the SIKKA project,” commented Shapemode CTO Salvatore Saldano after receiving the award. “In particular I’d like to thank all those persons who have contributed to Shapemode’s growth throughout the past few years. Without them, we would not be here today.”

The Design Competition initiative, now in its seventh edition, focuses on the realization of innovative projects and relative prototypes, which are the result of very close collaborations between local firms and young designers, under 35 years of age. In 2019 the design competition was linked to Expo 2020; Shapemode won the competition as the best among the 20 projects selected to be exhibited in Dubai.

Shapemode worked with an international group of young designers and architects from the Polytechnic and the NUMEN Institute to create the first prototype of SIKKA. The unique idea behind this project is to digitally alter the natural shape of an elastic fabric by applying layers of plastics through an innovative 3D printing process. The elastic fabric was supplied by the technical sponsor of the project “Piave Maitex s.r.l.” from Feltre (BL).

The project was approved and financed by the Lombardia regional administration in April 2019. Using an out-of-collection fabric, the team composed of Timothy Liddell, Mahsa Bohlooli Zamani, Beatrice Cappuccilli and the Numen student Leonardo Di Martino gave the fabric new life using colors and 3D printing. The combination of elastic fabric and plastic had already been tested in small size elements but the SIKKA project took this experience to a large size object for the first time.

The large-format DeltaWASP 3mt industrial system, supplied by leading Italian 3D printer manufacturer WASP, the other technical sponsor of this project, was instrumental in achieving the final results and enable the team to move beyond experimentation, into final production.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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