Founder of LACE, Jenny Wu On Intricate 3D Printed Jewellery
Hong Kong/ Fashionista/ Fashion

LACE’s Jenny Wu on The Future of 3D Printed Innovation in Jewellery

LACEs Jenny Wu Chats The Future of 3 D Printed Innovation in Jewellery Header

This interview is part of The Beat Hong Kong’s International Women’s Month coverage. Through highlighting women’s voices, we are celebrating and uplifting the women around us through their stories and multifaceted experiences.

With advances in technology vastly outpacing our wildest imaginations, creatives of the world gather and tinker away to carve out new ways of expression like never before.

The technology invented to unburden us from mindless day-to-day tasks has unintentionally opened doors for artists to carry out more intricate projects, fuelling their visionary spirits and coaxing them to break the boundaries.

Los Angeles-based architect and jeweller Jenny Wu knows first-hand the impact of translating an impossible idea into the real-world. Her journey into jewellery design is a testament to just that - beginning when she first 3D-printed three necklaces to wear to Art Basel Miami, almost a decade ago.

Incorporating her skeletal graphic signature from her architectural portfolio, she couldn’t possibly have predicted the resounding feedback from her little experiment. Strangers clamouring up to her with questions and prices was all the confirmation she needed to start her jewellery brand, LACE by Jenny Wu.

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Worn by celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba, and Christina Aguilera, the avant-garde stackable designs made its’ Asian debut at the AME Gallery in Hong Kong in 2022, replicating its success in the US.

Speaking to The Beat Asia, Jenny Wu shares her design philosophy, inspirations, and how this new technology has enabled her creativity to reach new heights.

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How has your architecture background influenced your design approach to jewellery?

I think of my jewelry designs as architecture on the body.  Like designing a building on a site, I am always looking for creative ways of situating my jewelry pieces on the body.  As architects, we care a lot about the details and the final finishes. This is also something I strive for in the jewellery pieces.

What or who are your design inspirations when it comes to jewellery?  

The work of fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Iris Van Herpen have always inspired me.  I love the flow and unconventional silhouettes in McQueen’s work.  I also really admired how Iris Van Herpen merges technology with design, which is something I strive for with LACE. 

How does 3D-printing enable and support your creative vision?  

3D printing allows us to produce designs that may be challenging to manufacture traditionally. For example, our necklaces are designed with interlocking pieces that changes [pieces’] sizes incrementally. 

This makes it very expensive to produce traditionally since every module is unique and slightly different in size, [and] therefore cannot be mass produced.  However, when we 3D print a piece, the entire necklace is printed in layers from the bottom to the top.  The size difference is not more difficult for a 3D printer to make, allowing intricate, statement pieces [to be] more feasible to produce.

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What can 3D-printing do that conventional jewellery craft cannot?  

We design all of our pieces in the computer using 3D modelling software.  This allows us to build in far more complexity than you can make by hand. The digital files are then transferred directly to a 3D printer for production.  However, in our fine jewellery pieces, we still use hand polishing to achieve the perfect finish.

Why were you drawn to working with materials such as carbon fibre?  

We started working with Impossible Objects, a 3D printing company that uses carbon fiber in their printing process.  We are able to design intricate pieces that are super lightweight but still strong and durable.  Our customers love that they can wear their statement earrings without the weight!

What do you hope to impart on the buyer through your brand and pieces?  

I really hope they love our unique designs and the story behind its production! 

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What does the future of jewellery design and manufacturing look like to you?

One of the best parts of my job is to explore new technologies and think about how it might apply to jewelry.  I believe additive manufacturing will continue to transform jewelry design and manufacturing in the coming years.  New machines that can print directly in gold are very much a reality.  I’m excited for LACE to continue to grow and evolve with technology. 

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Jenny Wu brings her intricately designed pieces to Haus of Contemporary on Mar. 31, partnering with other jewellery brands driving innovation in the creative space – including Antonia Y, ARAO, and Moon Convos.

When: 2PM – 8PM, Mar. 31

Where: Haus of Contemporary, 9 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong

Click here to see the rest of our International Women’s Month series.

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