As pioneers of modern fashion, embracing extravagant opulence and rich cultural craftsmanship-quality, elegance, comfort, and fantasy remain the vital components of Italy’s treasured artisan.

A worker at HSL polishes a lampshade created by a 3D printer

With the countries skills being undermined by larger powers such as China and other Asian countries, the reign of traditional family-owned businesses, specialising in singular part finished products have suffered staggering jobs losses of 135,000, since the beginning of the global economic crisis. President of HSL, Ignazio Pomini a 27-year-old maker of automotive prototypes located in Trento, comments of the despair of the fading trade;

“We needed to find an escape route. To use the same technology, the same skills, the same space, the existing investments, but for a new business.” (Bloomberg, 2015)

Selvaggia Armani | Hand Painting Leather

Proposing a solution to diversify company offerings Pomini teamed up with artist and designer Selvaggia Armani, in an attempt to revive the Italian market. Both teams began working diligently on a series of lamps designed by Armani and manufactured to order on Pomini’s 3D printers. The designs which included a myriad of intricate meshwork and interlocking fabrics posed construction difficulty via traditional methodologies, then advanced to take form by the high-power laser printer.


Injecting digital economy into the physical world, the project evolved into a hotbed of innovation for the country. Advancing to print jewellery in 2012, Pomini now works with numerous designers aiming to increase growth for the region. With figures rising for the first time since 2007, at 0.5 percent and exports increasing by 3.5 percent by 2014. Artist and entrepreneur Armani comments on the  emergence of  the eccentric decadence;

“This is the beauty of this technology,” says Armani, 47. “You can build things that are impossible.” (Bloomberg, 2015)


Acting as the perfect hybrid for preserving Italian artisan in a contemporary light, talented designer Francesa Paolin comments on the exciting future of the innovative fusion;

“It’s not just artisan it’s contemporary artisan, I mean it’s artisanal work combined with technology.”


Growing up amidst the excessive fashions of the 80s and the reactive minimalism of the 90s, the Italian designer became fascinated by the unconventional approaches of Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake.

With a narrative of whimsical collections reflecting the dreams and joyful playfulness reminiscent of her family memories, Paolin has creativity in her blood, absorbing techniques from her hand-skilled garment and embroidery artist mother, whilst admiring her father’s passion for blending traditional and contemporary styles. 


Well practised in the intricacies of design, the Italian pushes the boundaries of traditional artisan by expanding on sacrosanct cultural elements. With enhanced focus on volumes, colours and the relation between them, Francesca ensures her work does not resemble a mechanical output, ensuring each piece is delicately hand dyed post production.

Describing her initial encounter with 3D printing as “magical”, the unique brand hosts elements of nostalgia and joy. Adopting vibrant colours enriched with radiant energy, the collection is available in colours of lava concrete,  lava cameo, concrete sublimation and cameo density. 

Paolin | 3D Circular Earrings

Drawing on her vast cultural exposure and world travel, the talented designer believes she has returned to Italy with “fresh eyes” using her creative impulse to add the essential innovative technological twist. With contrasts between the imminent and the raw, Paolin beings each research process with the following questions;

“What are you dreaming about? What are the colours you would like to be surrounded by?”

Working with an array of plastics, the Italian mainly adopts Polyamide due to its natural matte finish upon production completion. Its light weight, soft touch and endless design possibilities complete the unique visual aesthetic. Each piece is then delicately blessed with a soul and personalised story.

Paolin | 3D Wing Earrings

As time weighs on fashion, the symbiosis between traditional artisan and 3D printing proves to drive Italian craft. The prodigious outcome appears to breath fresh life into this once static market. Commenting on preserving the unique cultural traits of the past whilst looking to the future with technology, Topputo claims; 

“Even when you do something with new technology, you can’t forget the aesthetics of the past.”

Paolin | 3D Circular Chain Cuff

Elevating the concept of historicism, Paolin’s dynamic exhibition combines the newest technologies with artisanal work and different materials to redefine a new concept of jewellery. With the desire to fulfil the wearer with positivity, Paolin defines the wearer adorning her jewellery;

“Gorgeous and special, like they are wearing their favourite talisman.” Francesca Paolin


Bloomberg (2015) How 3-D Printing Is Saving the Italian Artisan [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 2016]


With special thanks for Francesca Paolin for her inspiring and insigtful words.