Jiani Zeng and Honghao Deng

Professional in 3D Printing Design.

About Jiani Zeng and Honghao Deng

Jiani Zeng is an industrial designer, engineer and researcher working in the intersection of consumer product design and technology. Her work explores new design opportunities beyond the limit of current manufacturing and materials like soft robotics, multi-material 3D printing etc. Jiani's work has been recognized in top international design awards like Red Dot Design Concept, International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), Platinum A’ Design Award etc. Her design has been featured in the Milan Design Week, CHI, Artsthread, italianbark, LUXOS and IDSA. She has consulted and designed for multiple companies, including Seymourpowell, Hilti, Furrytail, MIT Design Lab and MIT Media Lab, not only helping them successfully deliver products from initial concept to final product launch but also looking at future design trends and brand strategy. Jiani holds a BEng in Product Design and Manufacture from the University of Nottingham and a Master of Science in Integrated Design and Management (IDM) from MIT. She is a Co-founder and Executive Director of Product Design at Butlr. Technologies and Radical Department Inc., her startup and studio are based in San Francisco.

  • Winner of 5 A' Design Awards.
  • Winner of 3D Printing Design Award.
  • Specialized in 3D Printing Design.
  • 5 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • 3D Printing
  • Universal
  • Kitchenware
  • Packaging
  • Jewelry
Unream Voxel Printed Lamp

Unream Voxel Printed Lamp

3D Printing Design

Tag Tag Mark disposable cups

Tag Tag Mark disposable cups

Universal Design

Luna Sauce Dish

Luna Sauce Dish

Kitchenware Design

Dual Zero waste

Dual Zero waste

Packaging Design

Glasses Plus Interchangeable Cover Frame

Glasses Plus Interchangeable Cover Frame

Jewelry Design


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Interview with Jiani Zeng and Honghao Deng

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I'm an Industrial Designer by training and I went to MIT exploring design with the newest technology. More specifically, I want to explore design beyond current manufacturing methods, such as multi-material 3D printing, soft robotics and etc.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
My partner Honghao Deng and I started our design studio "Illusory Material" in 2019, research on creating "impossible" materials in a controlled manner, with computation and multi-material voxel printing. We envision a future where designers can manipulate the color, texture, and reflectivity of materials across time and different viewing angles.
What is "design" for you?
Design is about exploring new opportunities beyond the limit of current manufacturing and materials, imagine freely, and create freely.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
3D printed objects/artifacts; technology-driven products; AI & IoT product; new material-based product.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
My recent project "illusory Material" - exploring "impossible material" with unique material expression using 3D multi-material printing.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Uniqueness. I want to be a designer who creates a new design domain/methodology.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
The future of design should not be fixed by design thinking or any fixed guidelines. Design is about user but also about designers themselves, be selfish and design freely.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
Not Design thinking bullshit for sure. I don't have one. I create and invent.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
Positive: if you like it, you will love your life. Neg: always desperate.

Extended Interview with Jiani Zeng and Honghao Deng

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I'm an industrial designer, engineer and researcher working in the intersection of consumer product design and technology. My work explores new design opportunities beyond the limit of current manufacturing and materials like soft robotics, multi-material 3D printing etc. My work has been recognized in top international design awards like Red Dot Design Concept, International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), Golden A’ Design Award etc. My design has been featured in Milan Design Week, CHI, Artsthread, italianbark, LUXOS, and IDSA. I has consulted and designed for multiple companies, including Seymourpowell, Hilti, Furrytail, MIT Design Lab and MIT Media Lab, not only helping them successfully deliver products from initial concept to final product launch but also looking at future design trends and brand strategy. I hold a BEng in Product Design and Manufacture from the University of Nottingham and a Master of Science in Integrated Design and Management (IDM) from MIT. Currently, I am a Co-founder and Executive Director of Product Design at Butlr. Technologies and Radical Department Inc., my startup and studio is based in San Francisco.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I want to equip every industrial designer the ability to manipulate design from the material creation level and from bits and atoms, instead of being limited by conventional material selection and production. I hope every designer can see "object skin" as separate entities for creation, instead of a uniform material surface that can only be chosen from limited collections. I believe only when those "creators" of products think freely that the general users can experience differently from each product.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
Let me be very honest...it was about 9 years ago, as a Chinese high school graduate, I have no idea what i was going to do and I din't know what is industrial design. that time I was really into photography, one day I saw a picture of a camera, Leica M6, the classic one with blue leather skin, I got hooked... it was the last day I had to decide my major, so i went through the list - i choose the one looks like it - product design. It was the best coincident and i feel it's destiny.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I hope to blur the line between the digital and physical world, bringing "impossible" materials to real-world product design. With the newest fabrication technology and computational power such as multi-material printing, 4D printing, soft robotics, we can embed information into three-dimensional matter (voxel), expanding binary material presence to dynamic material experience in everyday products. Imagine a physical material can display dynamically by itself without electronics; Imagine the future of color creation is not based on layers of chemical paints, but a combination with optical 3D printed optical lenses and simple color blocks; imagine an invisible object that is informative, a hard object that feels soft.... I want to change the world by bringing these amazing digital experiences into the physical world we live in.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Good design should be inspiring, it shows you what the future will be like, it leads your imagination.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
My first step would be introducing my vision and research outcome "illusory material" ([https://www.illusorymaterial.com/](https://www.illusorymaterial.com/)) to the designers' world - I want to equip every industrial designer the ability to manipulate design from the material creation level and from bits and atoms, instead of being limited by conventional material selection and production. I hope every designer can see "object skin" as separate entities for creation, instead of a uniform material surface that can only be chosen from limited collections. I believe only when those "creators" of products think freely that the general users can experience differently from each product. Secondly, I hope to blur the line between the digital and physical world, bringing "impossible" materials to real-world product design. With the newest fabrication technology and computational power such as multi-material printing, 4D printing, soft robotics, we can embed information into three-dimensional matter (voxel), expanding binary material presence to dynamic material experience in everyday products. Imagine a physical material can display dynamically by itself without electronics; Imagine the future of color creation is not based on layers of chemical paints, but a combination with optical 3D printed optical lenses and simple color blocks; imagine an invisible object that is informative, a hard object that feels soft.... I want to change the world by bringing these amazing digital experiences into the physical world we live in.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
I've been asked this question for many time, I can't find a good answer. subjectively, design is my life, I don't know what I can do besides design.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
My instructors at MIT, Matt Kressy, Axel Kilian, Stefanie Mueller.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
more and more designers walk out of the box of traditional manufacture and material. design freely.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
physical design will be abt material design instead of using existing material to design.

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