3D printers are not a new invention per se, having been around for over 20 years, but then again you could say the same for a mobile phone, or the internet. What these technologies have in common, is that they have in this day and age achieved a level of sophistication where their potential is being explored - and exploited - to an increasingly profound level. Twenty years ago, with a mobile phone you could make a call and - if you were lucky - play a game of Snake. Just look at what it can do now.
In the same way, 3D printers have also reached that level of maturity where they can be engaged with by a much wider audience of individuals from a whole range of backgrounds. Perhaps a potent gauge of a technology's mass appeal is the point at which a seemingly harmless invention is manipulated to achieve harmful ends. Just as social media, the revolutionary connector of people, was thrown into the spotlight as a new tool for paedophiles and stalkers, 3D printers have gained notoriety after being used to produce a fully-functional gun.
But for every controversial application there are hundreds of cases where 3D printing has been used to creative ends, making for inspiring new developments in everything from photography to fashion.
It is only a matter of time before 3D printing finds itself popping up in the events sector in myriad ways as the technology continues to get cheaper, quicker and more sophisticated. Instead of a simple paper invitation card, how soon will it be that we are getting a 3D-printed miniature car inviting us to an auto show, or a 3D-printed model of a hotel to celebrate its grand opening?
When will it become viable for us to get a 3D-printed image of ourselves instead of a polaroid at the entrance backdrop? Will we be seeing increasingly intricate centerpieces, chandeliers and other decorations that would until recently have been prohibitively expensive to have custom made?
No doubt some of these things are already being tested out in isolated cases where the budget and timing allows. And it is only a matter of time before these sorts of things become the rule instead of the exception.
3D printing is symptomatic of a wider trend that is not just influencing the creative industries but businesses of all types: the increasing individualization of output. In a way we have come full circle. From the artisans of old to the Model-T Ford revolution and back again, 3D printing is taking ground away from areas previously dominated by the production line. As social media is individualising news dissemination, lone online whistleblowers are shaking up governments and crowd funding is empowering entrepreneurs who previously had no voice, 3D printing is another such tool that is firmly marking this time we live in as The Age of the Individual.
Here, the minds behind Pure collate their impromptu musings, random inspirations and epiphanies borne of the deepest meditation.