Advanced technology meets fashion design in United Nude’s new Lo Res shoe

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When United Nude launched its last range of quirky shoes called Eamz DEVELOP3D was hot on its heels (mind the pun) and featured it in the magazine and website. Well, this international shoe brand, which was founded by Dutch architect Rem D Koolhaas in 2003, is back with a new offering called Lo Res and a brand spanking new store in which to launch it in.

United Nude has always prided itself as being a brand at the intersection of design and fashion and the interesting thing about these shoes is that they are developed using advanced 3D scanning technology from INUS Technology, the developer of Rapidform software. Technology not usually found in the field of fashion design. The Lo Res, or Low Resolution, is part of a new semi-automatic design method by United Nude in which an object is digitally scanned into a 3D model and regenerated into various resolutions. One of the most important factors is that when lowering the 3D resolution, the original shape must be maintained. In order to achieve this United Nude turned to Rapidform’s polygon decimation function. So, when the designer enters a target number or a certain ratio, Rapidform XOR automatically decimates the polygon model preserving the original shape and boundaries.

I managed to catch up with Koolhaas, as well as the founder of United Nude he is also the creative director of the company, and asked him a few questions about the new Lo Res shoe and his company’s use of Rapidform. So, why does he choose to use software and technologies that are more commonplace in engineering than fashion design? “My background is in architecture and I studied at the technical university of Delft so I have always applied an engineering point of view to the work that I have done, even when it comes to shoe design. Where other shoe designers won’t use this kind of technology or software in order to create a shoe, for me it’s natural to use this kind of instrument in the creation process. I think it would be unnatural for an engineer to have a non-engineering approach,” he explains.

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Lo Res, together with the rest of the 2010 product line, was officially revealed at the launch ceremony of United Nude’s second flagship store in New York’s Bond Street on 20 May 2010. “I think that someone with technical insight might look at the shoe as a low resolution object and understand and appreciate it in that way but to the untrained eye it still comes across as a very beautiful jewel-like shoe-object much like a cut diamond or any other gemstone,” describes Koolhaas.

So, having collaborated with Rapidform will we see the shoe brand collaborating with other technology companies in the future? “The purpose of collaboration is about synergizing strengths and since we are interested in technologies it seems likely that we shall continue to work with all sorts of companies including tech companies who can bring something interesting to the table,” comments Koolhaas.

In fact, they are going to continue their collaboration with Rapidform and even have a few things up their sleeves. “I think what is most interesting about our upcoming collaboration with Rapidform is that we shall be jointly developing sowftare applications and perhaps an entirely new software which can be applied by designers not just to shoe design but to many other industries,” says Koolhaas.


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