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Reinventing material expressions with lenticular 3D printing

Illusory Material

3D viewing room
Illusory Material printed models
Jiani Zeng and Honghao Deng

Illusory Material is a design philosophy, computational workflow that enables the designer to create material with dynamic color & texture in a controlled way. It breaks down design medium into 'matter', restructuring and reinventing materiality with unique expressions, properties & experiences.

Imagine designing everyday products with ‘impossible’ materials that only exist in the digital world; imagine a future where designers can manipulate the color, texture, and refractivity of materials across time and different viewing angles; imagine that the future of color creation is not based on layers of chemical paints, but a combination of 3D printed optical lenses and simple color blocks; imagine a physical material can inherently display dynamically, an invisible object that is informative, a hard object that feels soft.

With ‘Illusory Material’, we propose to get away from surface limitations in object/industrial design by adding another dimension to the material interface, to push past the limitations of traditional design and remove the need to simply replicate materials that already exist. By embedding information into three-dimensional pixels, we introduce a new material organization that responds directly to user intervention and the environment. With multi-material 3D printing, we envision a future where the design of surface detail, texture, refractivity can finally be merged with the overall product composition from the beginning of the design process.


Jiani Zeng and Honghao Deng

Graduated from MIT & Harvard, Jiani and Honghao are award-winning innovators working in the intersection of design and emerging technologies such as IoT, tangible interfaces and voxel printing. Their work has been awarded with Red Dot Best of Best, IF, Architizer A+, Core77 Design Award, IDEA, A'Design Award Platinum & Gold, and featured by Domus, TechCrunch, INNOVATION, ARCHITECT magazine, Dexigner, Fast Compay, CCTV, the National and CBS.