Zaha Hadid and other top designers unveil 3D-printed high heels

5 pictures

"Flame-like bands originate from the point of the heel, rising upwards to gently embrace the foot, while the ergonomically optimized foot bed provides comfort and support," says the brief for Flames, by British-Iraqi architect and designer Zaha Hadid (Photo: United Nude) . View gallery (5 images)

When you think of Zaha Hadid, shoe design probably isn't the first thing that springs to mind (even if she does have prior experience). However, the architect joined forces with Ben van Berkel of UN Studio and three other top-tier designers to produce 3D-printed high heels for United Nude. The shoes are on display at this year's Salone del Mobile.

The futuristic footwear was designed for United Nude's "Re-Inventing Shoes" project, which seeks to explore 3D printing and its usefulness for shoe design. We haven't got a great deal of information on the actual design and manufacturing process used, but know they were fabricated using Selective Laser Sintering technology, like Nike's Vapor Laser Talon cleats, and the high heels combine hard nylon and a soft rubber material.

"We ask the participant to design a pair of shoes (pumps or booties) where shape and structure are to be played with while exploring the boundaries of the laser sintering 3D printing technology, "says United Nude. "Think of shape layering and breaking the silhouette of conventional shoes and more, but that what we really are after is surprise."

In addition to designs from Hadid and van Berkel, Welsh industrial designer Ross Lovegrove produced the Ilabo shoes (above), English designer Michael Young came up with the appropriately-named Young shoes and Mexican architect and designer Fernando Romero offered his Ammonite shoes.

Though you certainly wouldn't want to wear such arty footwear to walk the dog, United Nude says each example is fully-functional, and available for purchase in a limited run of just 50. As for cost, the firm is somewhat coy, stating that the price of each pair will be the production cost, plus US$2,000 – though it's probably one of those times that if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

Source: United Nude

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