"Do we really want people at home printing
rubbish?" - Dominic Wilcox at Dezeen Live


London designer Dominic Wilcox shares his thoughts on 3D printing and presents some of his "fun, crazy" projects including GPS shoes, a combined coffin and desk and a reserve bungee jump in this movie we filmed at 100% Design. "We shouldn't be so scared of putting out ridiculous thoughts," he says.

"I think we're all very tight and worried about what people think," Wilcox explains. "But actually fun, crazy ideas - maybe something else comes out of them."

Dominic Wilcox at Dezeen Live

Above: photos taken during the recording of Sounds of East London

Wilcox introduces the first of five images he chose for the talk, which shows pictures taken while creating his Sounds of Making in East London record; an alternative east London Olympic souvenir. "We have a huge amount of creative makers," he says. "What I decided to do was to celebrate that fact and so I visited 21 historical, skillful, creative makers and simply recorded the sound of them making, of them working."

The next image is a montage of his races against a 3D printer earlier this year, when he beat the machine on two occasions. "The ironic thing about rapid prototyping is how slow it is," he comments. He's also sceptical about the usefulness of 3D printers: "I think if the quality goes up and the price comes down then a lot of people will get them," he predicts, but asks "do we really want people at home printing off a load of rubbish?"

Dominic Wilcox at Dezeen Live

Above: racing a 3D printer during Salone de Mobile 2012 in Milan

Wilcox then explains some of his illustrations from the Variations on Normal series, including a family poncho, shoes for walking up hills and a reverse bungee jump. "In my sketchbooks I've got lot of inventions, or just ideas of things," he says. "It's just an alternative way of thinking."

Dominic Wilcox at Dezeen Live

Above: invention illustrations

Another of those ideas is his No Place Like Home GPS shoes that were inspired by Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. "When she clicks her heels together she gets transported back to Kansas and I thought, 'is it possible to make that real in some way?'" he says.

Dominic Wilcox at Dezeen Live

Above: No Place Like Home GPS shoes

Dezeen Live was a series of discussions between Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs and a number of designers and critics that took place as part of the talks programme at design exhibition 100% Design during this year’s London Design Festival.

Each of the four one-hour shows, recorded live in front of an audience, included three interviews plus music from Dezeen Music Project featuring a new act each day. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting all the movies we filmed during the talks and you can watch all the movies we've featured so far here.

The music featured in the movie is a track called My Son is a Fish Finger by Reset Robot. Listen to more of their songs on Dezeen Music Project.

See all our stories about Dominic Wilcox »
See all our stories about Dezeen Live »
See all our stories about London Design Festival 2012 »

  • tony

    Dominic Wilcox is right: we don’t want people printing off rubbish at home, but he needn’t worry. There will probably soon be an EU-wide 3D printing Commissar with arrest authority to stop those with bad taste and free time.

  • Emma

    Dominic Wilcox is King! Dominic has the design maturity, sensibility and concern for people’s lifestyle not seen in others. Tom Heatherwick, sorry, but you have been long overtaken!

  • Graham

    Not seen in others? Really? Obviously not looking at the past exploits of some rather well known artists then. See Climb by John Wood and Paul Harrison:


  • Jec

    The fact is that home 3D printing ISN’T “our” business. If people want to have home 3D printers, let them have it.

  • Sasha

    That’s right Dominic, us plebs should be banned from designing and making things – leave it to the professionals. Show your degree certificate from the RCA to get a licence to run a 3D printer…

  • Matteo

    Was Helmut Newton against the first printers that allowed you to print decent pictures at home? Should the Beatles have tried to ban the sales of guitars to stop people from playing rubbish music at home? I think it’s a way too conservative approach… as it’s already been demonstrated in multiple fields people will always want to buy the good stuff designed by the professionals, they just want to be able to also make something themselves.

  • Dominic Wilcox

    Hello, just thought I’d clarify what I meant as some commenters seem to have misunderstood. When I said ‘Do we want people 3D Printing rubbish at home’, I mean ‘rubbish’ as in the printing of things and quick disposal of them into the bin, adding to landfills. I’m referencing the future vision of every household having a 3D printer in their home and being able to print out objects with a simple click of a mouse.

    I’m just questioning whether that sort of easy ability for consumers to create more stuff in the world is always a good thing or would it just engender a disposability value to the printed objects and add more rubbish to landfills. I’m not talking about limiting access to people who use 3D printers to design and make things. I think 3D printers are a wonderful tool and all designers and makers should have access to one if they wish.

    • Matteo

      Thanks for the clarification. I didn’t agree before but I do now ;-)

  • Dan

    So the 3D printers would print the rubbish in his sketchbook then?