Unpacking Solemaker into a model for UPPSS

Solemaker research is a collection of four RtD projects related to personalized shoemaking. Across these projects, we created 272 material samples that explore how to make shoes that are digitally fabricated for the individual. This shoe personalization system utilised soft materials, 3D printing, digital embroidery, laser cutting and our own digital tools. Achieving Solemaker meant hundreds of material samples for only a few research products; all were algorithmically generated. Our work exemplifies a change in making and craft practices through digital fabrication. In design theory, this is encapsulated in a model of digital personalization known as Ultra Personalized Product Service (UPPS). To investigate these links in the context of our material and making approach, we compared our hybrid craft practise to the model of UPPS using a system of physical boxes. We unpacked our work into boxes representing the model. This afforded ways to map projects together by means of a common language. This resulted in previously unseen connections, new understandings of the theoretical model, and new enabling transitions between model pillars. We present our unpacking “material sample boxing” process, a refined definition of the model, and the “physicalised” enabling transitions between the UPPS model stages.