3-D Printed Gold-Plated Heels: There’s Shoes in Them There Gold

Altering and expanding consciousness is not  a phenomenon reserved for the world of psychedelic drugs. Within the 3-D printing industry, a burgeoning trend known as 'disruptive luxury branding' utilizes lavish materials and scrupulous attention to details that inspire the intellect and dazzle the imagination. Any company specializing in luxury disruptive branding must be open to self-scrutiny, be willing to let go of the past and join the front lines of technological change and advancement. Enter New York designer, Francis Anthony Bitonti, whose new range of shoes for Dutch footwear designer, United Nude, successfully integrates traditional and innovative materials into modern apparel and accessories.


Gold Plated ShoesGold Plated Shoes

Francis Bitonti

This highly versatile and extremely talented architect, fashion designer and researcher is based in New York City. He has a Masters of Architecture from Pratt Institute where he is a visiting instructor and a BFA (magna cum laude) from Long Island University in Digital Media. He is currently teaching at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Dedicated to the research and application of new technologies, specifically algorithmic form generation, smart materials and interactive environments, Bitonti is the founder of the  FAD Studio, and his work has been exhibited internationally in many prominent institutions including the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.


Francis BitontiFrancis Bitonti
3-D Print

United Nude

United Nude represents a merger between two talented men: Dutch architect, Rem D. Koolhas, who should not be confused with his famous architect uncle with the same name, and Galahad Clark. The company, which launched back in 2003 with the design classic Mobius Shoe, has become a leader in architectural footwear. Known for their sheer elegance and innovation, United Nude shoes are sold in more than 40 countries, with flagship stores in Amsterdam, London and New York. In a recent interview with Dezeen, Koolhas, who was trained at the Technical University of Delft in Holland, had this to say about Francis Bitonti:

"I was introduced to Francis Bitonti not so long ago and immediately offered him our support for this project. I liked his idea to create computer-scripted designs to be uniquely selctive laser sintered (SLS) printed in nylon and then to be gold-plated for achieving highly finished luxury products."


Mutatio Heels- Back ViewMutatio Heels- Back View

The Mutatio Collection

Each shoe in the Mutatio collection, is completely unique and fabricated for real life wear. Bitonti is, among other things, a materials scientist who is focused on the new age production of both apparel and accessories. He utilizes an amalgam of 3-D printing  and conventional materials, which seamlessly blend to create a shoe that promises comfort to the wearer. The combined result merges 3-D Systems  as the  manufacturer and United Nude as the agent for sales. The heel is completely 3-D  printed and gold-plated and the upper part is made of traditional leather material.


Mutatio JewelryMutatio Jewelry

In Bitonti's own words:

"It's not so much about making something customizable. I wanted to think of a product as an algorithm...We assume materials can be generated and modified as digital media. We don't design static things; we design systems and algorithms that shape materials. This is not design for the next industrial evolution. It is design for the information age.

Special features of this 3-D  printed gold-plated shoe collection

The metal plating allows the shoes to be lightweight and comfortable to wear. This collection deftly combines traditional leather uppers, which cover the entire foot, and latticed nylon platform heels by using an SLS machine and then plating them with gold. Each pair of heels is one-of-a-kind and features a slightly different mesh pattern, generated by adjusting a computer algorithm.

The legacy of the Mutatio Collection and Francis Bitonti

The 3-D printed Mutatio Shoe Collection possesses just the right blend of fashion, awe and aesthetics. Bitonti's work elevates 3-D printing into the mainstream of modern thought and innovation. More than just art, these shoes can be worn at your next party, making all that glitters in this particular case gold after all.

Closing thoughts on shoes:
A woman carries her clothes. But the shoes carry the woman. ~ Christian Louboutin