Dani Clode


While studying at VUW Dani took her interest in photography and thought about creating a new camera design, challenging the way we think of camera bodies and their functions. Flashᶟ combined the look of the old (the square body of the early box cameras) with modern technology (digital sensors which make lightproof boxes obsolete). Instead of adding a flash to the top of the camera, the camera IS the flash. And instead of highly directional light, it emits a soft ambient light, illuminating an area instead of flooding it.

At VUW’s School of Design under the supervision of Ross Stevens and Simon Fraser Dani had access to the latest Stratasys Polyjet printer. That advanced 3D printing technology and materials enabled her to design an object that fulfilled her demands on form and function. The placement of light-diffusing pyramids on the inside wall of the cube translated well from computer to real-life model and was shown to work beautifully with the translucent material. The complex detailing of the inside would not have been possible with traditional manufacturing methods, clearly demonstrating the capabilities of 3D printing by letting students make ideas become reality.

Following her Bachelor of Design Innovation (majoring in Industrial Design) she went to the RCA in London and graduated with a Masters in Design Products, winning the Helen Hamlyn Award for creative design with her Masters project Third Thumb. This project continued to explore her interests in the human body and the various interactions around it. As she had used 3D printing technology during her undergraduate studies at VUW, using it for her Masters project Third Thumb was an integral part of the design process.

Third Thumb is another project challenging conventional views: this time it is the perception of artificial limbs or prosthesis. Dani took the original definition of the word prosthesis – ‘to add, put onto’ – and explored different scenarios in which it would be advantageous or even desirable to have an extra digit. Instead of being ‘just a replacement’ the thumb becomes a choice of added function and embellishment. Again, Dani used the latest in 3D printing technology to create an array of working prototypes, allowing her to explore movement both functionally and visually through a quick iterative process.

It is no surprise to see the worldwide media interest in Dani’s ideas shown by dezeen, futurism and other magazines. As 3D printing technology becomes an accepted part of research for the medical, entertainment and other industries, it empowers creative people to transform provocative ideas into tangible objects.