A few weeks ago (several weeks after they first invited me), I finally made my way to Form3D, my friend Param Mehta’s 3D design studio in Pune. I’ve been quite fascinated with 3D printing over the years so I was keen to go along and create a product that perhaps married technology with sustainability. Maybe jewellery I could grow a plant in.

3D printing can do for sculptural forms what it’s incredible difficult to do with other material processes. In the last couple of years, I’ve seen some incredible ‘prints’ - inspired by everything in nature (leaves, coral, fungi, bones, shells) but since my own design skills are terribly limited, I decided on a simpler, geometric shape for what is essentially a wearable vase/plant pot.

We started with a photograph of a vase I liked (though this can also be a sketch), and Aniket, a 3D modeler turned it into a render, tweaking it to my specs so it was exactly what I wanted. It was then converted into a printable format and came to life before my eyes. I’ve never seen anything 3D printed before so I was transfixed. The material we selected is a blend of wood and PLA (poly lactic acid, or plastic made from cornstarch) which is biodegradable.  

Twenty three minutes later, it was a tangible item. We poked holes in it, I took it home, strung a chain, put mud and planted a germinated seed in it. Two days later this adorable sprout made an appearance.

Scroll down to learn more about Form3D and see more WIP pictures.

Though Form3D have three printers, two ABS/PLA-based and one resin-based, they work with three dimensional forms and techniques that are not strictly limited to printing.

Currently the studio is a playground of experimentation. Their projects are as varied as personalised and corporate gifting, models for architects or landscapers, and creating a custom, moulded 3-D printed sandal for an injured horse. They’ve also begun an e-commerce venture to sustain the studio selling small knickknacks. One of the products that drew my attention were their sustainable soy and beeswax candles in which they couple technology with traditional art. Maqbool and Sarfaraj, their in-house Warli artists moulded clay shapes onto 3D printed masters before the silicone moulds for the candles were cast.

To see more of Form3D's work, head over to their site.