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Invisible shoes by Andreia Chaves

Completely reflective or simply skeletal, two new shoe designs by Andreia Chaves for Freedom of Creation seem to be barely there.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 19-05-2011

Brazillian born, Italian schooled and Ireland-based shoe designer Andreia Chaves has designed two pairs of exceptional shoes together with Dutch-based 3D-printing experts Freedom of Creation (FOC).

The two series - launched earlier this year during Mrcedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York - have a rather different look and feel to one another but feature a similar structure built up of geometrical shapes. One pair has a completely reflective surface that "changes colour along the way", while the other has a grid-like pattern that acts as the outside structure.

Aided by the latest 3D-printing technologies FOC is best-known for, Chaves designed and produced the footwear based on the idea that it should reflect its surroundings while exploring the concept of invisibility through the 'chameleon effect'.
 "I think this project represents the beginning of a conversation between craftsmanship and new technologies and processes, something I want to explore in my designs," says Chaves.

She continues: "This is also interesting in terms of achieving quality in a new exciting way."
Both pairs of shoes have comfortable leather insides, but challenge the basic principles of footwear with their tough outer shell - made of laser-sintered Nylon. The technique used is a form of rapid prototyping in which layers of Nylon are built up and fused by a laser beam.  

"The leather was used because of its ability to take the shape of the foot, but we did something very ambitious in creating such a complex hard structure for the shoe's exterior."

"Taking my initial prototype as a starting point, I experienced many restrictions during the development of the shoe, not in the last place because it needed to be commercially viable." From placement of the foot opening to finishing options, everything needed to be carefully considered. Nonetheless Chaves and the FOC team made sure they got the best possible results using the newest techniques and materials available, resulting in two designs that are both amazing to look at yet act as functional footwear.

"FOC have the capacity to overcome nearly every challenge," recalls Chaves, "which is particularly impressive given the fact footwear design is so particular and the functional element needs to be carefully considered."

Click on the images to enlarge

Images courtesy of Freedom of Creation

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