Francis Bitonti creates pixellated 3D-printed
shoes using cellular automation


Fashion and technology: New York fashion designer Francis Bitonti has used a mathematical model to "grow" pairs of shoes with gradients of colour on a 3D printer.

Francis Bitonti Molecule 3D printed shoes

Francis Bitonti, who designed the 3D printed dress for Dita Von Teese, has 3D-printed a capsule collection of pixellated footwear. Each platform shoe has a slightly different form.

To create the shoes, Bitonti used a mathematical model that generates cellular structures called Game of Life, devised by British mathematician John Conway.

"The shoes are all procedurally generated," Bitonti told Dezeen. "Conway's Game of Life is used as a foundation for our algorithm. This is what lets us get so many different configurations and is what we used to 'grow' our collection."

Francis Bitonti Molecule 3D printed shoes

The shoes were designed using software developed with digital technology company Adobe, which generates variations from the algorithm.

"Adobe entering the 3D-printing industry is a very exciting thing to see," said Bitonti. "This will help more people get started using the technology. The technology is becoming ubiquitous. It's very exciting to see this happening now."

Once the form is created, the shoes are built pixel by pixel on a Stratasys 3D printer that gradually blends different colours of filament as the pieces are built up in layers.

Francis Bitonti Molecule 3D printed shoes

The soles are a dark purple, moving up through blue and green tones to yellow and orange at the top.

Each of the women's shoes features a wedge heel and an upper that hugs the top of the foot, leaving an open toe.

The pixellated formation of the stalactite-like footwear differs from pair to pair – one set features a separate sole and heels, while the bottom and top of the heel are disconnected at the back of another pair.

Francis Bitonti Molecule 3D printed shoes

The shoes were unveiled at London's 3D Printshow earlier this month.

  • commonsenseboy

    I do not want to step on dog sh*t in those shoes!

    • younocommonsenseatallbuddy

      Who wants to step on dog sh*t with any shoes…

  • jack.exe

    Sure it’s fascinating, but no images of them actually being worn?

  • Yousif El Helw

    Wow! Must be super comfortable.

  • amsam

    A shoe is nothing if it’s not on a foot.

  • Just because it is 3D printed does not mean it is awesome! This shoe is not!

  • william

    Just like architects don’t like showing people in their buildings to not distract from their purist visions of form, fashion is also becoming more abstract. This CA process could have been applied to any other object, but a fashion context ensures a certain type of automatically guaranteed PR for designers like this, who start using generative processes in the same superficial sampling manner (rather than as a tool of structured synthesis) just as a graphic designer chooses a certain typeface to communicate his/her affinity with certain topics (in this case such hot keywords as “algorithm”/”maths”/”science”) – but without actually any other deeper intent than hype.

  • This is just the start of 3D printing, and I can not wait to see how it will improve peoples lives soon!