[Interview] One Just One: Unique 3D Printed, Very Individual Jewelry by Generative Design

Sivam Krish, one of the veterans of the mass customization movement, is back with a new venture, building on generative design. HIs idea: a new toolkit to customize individualized jewelry.

This is not a new category In the old days, wealthy people went to their jeweler of choice and ordered a piece of earrings or such, matching their individual taste. With the concept of mass customization, customized jewelery has become a bit more affordable and accessible to "the masses". Usually, customization in this sector happens by picking a base model (online) and then changing materials, gems, color and so on. A number of high-profile startups have been busy in this domain.

Now, there is a new approach on the market, though. One Just One has just published their new concept on kickstarter where they hope to raise some investment capital to make their ideas reality. 

Onejustone_productsThe idea sounds fairly interesting. Instead of altering a few numbers of typical base designs for a ring or a necklace, they apply a technology which they call gererative design to generate 3D printed jewelry which is as unique as possible: they only sell one piece of each variation. 

We were lucky to get Sivam Krish of One Just One to give us an online interview and tell more about the idea behind the venture and how it is different from the existing competition.

FTP: Sivam, can you give some general outline of what One Just One is, and why it stands out from competition?

SK: Ok, we are trying here to reverse the influenced of the industrial revolution – which commodotized products. Before that, ladies would go to a family jewellery and say I want something like that but made like this. The jewellery himself would have some prototype types in his mind. We call these prototypes genetic models – but they are computable models.

One of the great disadvantages in design is that there is no way to map design information except in terms of geometry color or texture. Genetic modeling allow us to map products parametrically – which then means we can map at a very high level as what people desire, so it is going to open up new possibilities.

We should be able to do
what amazon does with books, in terms of not only what customers are likely to
like, but be able to generate from previous purchase patterns designs that are
they are more likely to like; that is, generate designs within the envelope of
consumer preference.

Before mass production a wide variety of designs emerged from the craft tradition, and it evolved. Only mass production created a fetish about  a single representation of design. We take a genetic view of design – in that we look at designs as belonging to families, as biologist do.
FTP: Can you go a bit in depth about the technical side of the design process? Can the potential customer influence the design process? If so, how much?

SK: We think that designers have a new role. That is to create genetic representations of designs rather than a single instance of it. Once this representation is made, we use genoform to create 1000s of variations, but many of them may be not manufacturerable or desirable. We leave it to the designer to use their expert judgment and taste to set the bounds of variations.

The buyer then selects within such bounds. One just One is a designers brand – and we believe that a good part of design is about selection.Evolutionary biologist would agree with us here. So the role of the designer is critical here. But unlike before within a larger range of design possibilities buyers may choose according to their own taste.

We are not in favor of customers designing. The rest of the 3D printing community may be into that, but we are not. We belive that the next generation of designers have a role to give designs form and meaning but gentic form not static immutable form.
FTP: You are getting your starting capital through a kickstarter campaign. What are your plans for the future if the business model heads off?

SK: We have set a very small maximum amount of 3000$ and a maximum number of products to 400 – which we can meet. I am a great believer in lean bushiness model and not wish to subject this little venture to the trauma that capital brings. Yet we need to raise some amout of capital. The less investment we have the more we can share with out design community. Out intention is to make it the most attractive platform for the most enlighten and talented designers who are willing to take leaps that others cannot contemplate.

How we are going to do this, I really do not know.

FTP: Thanks a lot for the interview, Sivam! I am sure you do already have some ideas how to approach these rather ambitious goals and I am looking forward to keep our readers updated about its future development.

More Information about One Just One can be found on their official website as well as from their ongoing kickstarter campaign.

About the Author:

Frank T. Piller is a Co-Director of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, Frank is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His recent analysis of the crowdsourcing business model “Threadless” (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.