Alchemy – Monash x Alpha60
- Local Peoples
- Monash University - Department of Materials Science & Engineering
We brought Monash University’s Department of Materials Science (MSE) and Engineering together with local boutique fashion label Alpha60 for a week-long activation at Chapter House. Visitors were invited to engage with our bespoke software and create their own custom-designed piece of 3D printed jewellery. The client had identified that awareness of materials science as a discipline was low among the general public. We helped the Department showcase the creative applications of materials science and bridge the gap between students and faculty staff and the community outside their usual heavy industry partners.
We designed the interactive event to showcase the innovative and creative real-world applications of materials science for thousands of passers-by. We collaborated with the students at Monash, Alpha60 designers and digital developers to create a custom piece of software that could capture facial expressions and translate it into a bespoke 3D printed object. Guests were invited to shape their own special piece of jewellery using the software, then turn their design into reality using 3D printers operated by Monash students. The result was a playful accessory that guests could keep as an ongoing touchpoint with Monash and materials science.
Overwhelming press and lines out the door showed great things can happen when you combine cutting edge fashion, enthusiastic students and materials engineering. The event offered Monash students a foray into the world of fashion, and vice versa, introducing the Department to industry stakeholders outside its traditional partners. 585 guests created unique 3D designs. 50 were selected for printing by Monash students. The project featured in local and national press including AFR, Life & Leisure, Fashion Journal, Concrete Playground and The Urban List, with a potential reach of 8.7 million, plus Matters Journal with a combined reach of 165K+ per month.
The activation transformed both the students’ and the public’s approach to materials science due to its interactivity. Guests were immersed in the whole process, from creating and customising their design to the 3D printing process. This fostered a connection with materials science and a deeper understanding of its practical applications. Taking their piece of jewellery home also demonstrated how materials science and its functions could be easily integrated into fashion, offering a tangible and quirky introduction to a previously esoteric discipline. For the client, it connected them to industry and the wider public – Alpha60 are now collaborating with industry and exploring the development of new material.
While there’s reasonable awareness of 3D imaging and printing technology, rarely does the public get to engage with the design and process of printing in 3D. Similarly, the client lacked opportunities to showcase the exciting developments happening within the Department as academic research is often siloed or difficult to demonstrate. The activation connected previously separate industries, allowing for cross-pollination of ideas and solid industry-school connections for the client. Applying new technology to create bespoke customer products made materials science positioned the client as a thought leader in their field and yielded a 350% revenue hike for Alpha that week.