Eyewear brand giant Aoyama Optical France has collections in styles that range from sleek minimalism to bold experimentalism. But the eyewear world moves fast, and the call of the moment isn’t a singular aesthetic: it’s customization. In search of a new eyewear collection that would speak to a contemporary, tech-driven and highly individualistic market, Aoyama turned to Additive Manufacturing—and a partnership with Materialise. Meet the new We DDD collection of premium consumer-grade eyewear.

Taking advantage of the limitless design possibilities in 3D Printing, the We DDD (pronounced ‘we 3D’) collection features integrated functionalities such as flexible temple arms, which can flex 180° laterally along a hinge for the most comfortable fit. Each of the 14 frames is available in multiple sizes and nine colors, as well a choice of textures for the temples.

"The We DDD collection is designed for the tech-savvy, fashion-oriented consumer of today: aware of what they want and the high quality they deserve. Standardized production and a one-size-fits-all approach are no longer enough. We offer customizable options that speak directly to an individual’s tastes and preferences. Aoyama’s goal with this collection was to bring true mass customization to a luxury consumer-grade product."
Philippe Beuscart, Aoyama CEO

The collection is designed by Aoyama in collaboration with Unistudio, an industrial design company specialized in the development of innovative products. “We strongly believe in a collaborative approach, and being able to combine innovative design with a restriction-free production method makes this project really rewarding,” says Adrien Ciejak, designer at Unistudio. As a designer, Adrien fully appreciates how Additive Manufacturing allows for manufacturing complex shapes with barely any geometric restrictions.

We DDD by Aoyama Optical France

Manufactured in polyamide on laser sintering machines, the frames are lightweight but strong. “For us, Additive Manufacturing means the ability to go from design to market with incredible speed. No more wasted opportunity: this gives us a chance at true market responsiveness,” says Philippe. “Besides, no more wasted stock, now that we can manufacture on demand.”

For Materialise, 3D printing eyewear is no stranger. “Even then, upscaling production to this degree means covering a lot of bases: ensuring repeatability, for instance,” says Alireza Parandian, who coordinates Materialise’s eyewear projects. “That’s where our Certified Additive Manufacturing offer comes in: we work to make sure that the product can adhere to tight tolerances across a mass manufacturing series.”

We DDD by Aoyama Optical France

We DDD by Aoyama Optical France

We DDD by Aoyama Optical France

Modern Production, Timeless Craftsmanship: 3D Printing Eyewear

An additive manufacturing project of this size is part of a long-term vision that was developed in close collaboration. There are crucial steps to be taken between designers at Aoyama putting their vision down on paper as drawings and actually starting series production. As Alireza puts it, “Talking over designs and ideas with engineers at Materialise in a co-creation session is really necessary for designers and engineers to identify how to make the most of 3D Printing for the project. Identifying how integrated functionalities could benefit the design or how any specific performance area can be targeted is crucial.”

Certified till the Finish

After production, the frames go to our finishing team who apply a top-coating that is certified for skin contact, to ensure quality performance and durability. The frames can be color-dyed in any of the nine options that Aoyama offers, ranging from dignified black frames to offbeat orange and the increasingly-popular red.

Right now, the 14 models of the collection add up to 85 combinations of color, texture and size. But in the future? All bets are off!

Images courtesy of Aoyama Optical France