QCA lecturer designing the future

Queensland College of Art lecturer Dr Sam Canning is helping design the future – fusing art and engineering to create cutting edge designs.

Sam’s stunning 3D printed dress is the centrepiece of Griffith’s ongoingRemarkable campaign, and featured on the Today Show in the US before hitting catwalks across Europe and Asia.

It’s a project he describes as “the highlight of my design career”.

“It took me about 400 hours to model this dress on the computer and it ended up comprising 25,000 to 30,000 individual pieces,” he explains.

The gown was specifically folded to fit into a 3D printing machine and came out fully assembled in one individual piece — making it one of the first of its kind.

The collaborative international project highlighted the incredible potential of 3D printing technology.

“We want the next generation of designers to see that there is a real place and ever growing demand for this type of expertise.”

From his beginnings as a hand French polisher restoring antiques in England — using centuries old techniques – Sam’s transition into the world of 3D printing and the field of fashion is not as unlikely as it may seem.

His first apprenticeship sparked a love of craftsmanship — a theme ever present in his career and at the forefront of his latest work.

From here he began making his own furniture before moving to Australia in 1997.

“I was intrigued by furniture that had been cut so accurately, so I started to look into how it had been made and that’s when I came across digital technology,” he says.

“From there I became interested in industrial design, which led me eventually to fashion.

“Fashion allows for a new kind of craftsmanship and it’s one that I believe will revolutionise what it means to work in the industry.

“We are already seeing the very same software that is used to build aeroplanes now used to create hats, shoes and clothing.

“3D printing really does change the way we work and what is possible.”

Find out more about 3D and Product Design at the Queensland College of Art.