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Traditional Indonesian Theatrical Wear For The 3D-Printed Age

Age-old customs, new age design.

by Bogar Alonso
Nov 13 2013, 9:58pm

Kids these days. They’re lucky enough to grow up amidst a rich history of Indonesian shadow puppetry dating back to 930 CE and they’d rather spend their time downloading ringtones. But designer Amanda Azzahra,who grew up in Jakarta, thinks that wayang kulit, the region’s long-cherished shadow puppetry, just needs some revisioning. Shadow, after all, has long been an integral art medium.

Inspired by Philippe Starck’s own reimagining of the classic Louis XVI armchair, the Louis Ghost Chair, Azzahra would rather see her culture repackaged than packed away.

The Louis Ghost Chair as designed by Philippe Starck.

Example of wayang kulit. Photo licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic  License by Rebecca Marshall.

Impressed by the theatrical dance costumes of wayang wong, human-performed theater inspired by and derived from wayang kulit, Azzahra picked a particular headdress used in a dance performance reserved for Indonesia’s largest Hindu temple.

A wayang wong performance.

From a hand-drawn concept...

…Azzahra toyed with a computer-generated design...


...until it was ready for a prototype.

Though renderings of the design as a wearable headpiece look as refreshing as she hoped…

...the final, 3D-printed piece…

...turned out to be more suitable as a bracelet.

Still, Azzahra was successful in what she set out to do, which was to “[change] the visual aspect of the [wayang] performance into a more fashionable and contemporary [one]” as a possible “solution to bringing [in a ] new audience.”

Updating age-old customs for the 3D-printed age might be a worthwhile way to preserve them. Instead of gathering up dust in museum wings, Azzahra wanted her culture to come off as “cool enough to be [featured] in [a] glossy magazine.” However, she managed to do even better with The Creators Project.

Amanda Azzahra