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April 22, 2014

Prints charming: the 3D Lumia case designer

Taking inspiration from the Nokia Lumia 1520 and wintery arctic conditions, this Marrakech-based product designer has created something unique and now wants to give it to you.


Last month, Nokia invited a select group of people to Lapland to capture the inimitable natural environment of the Arctic Circle. Among those was Younes Duret, a respected product designer from Morocco who had never before ventured that far north. The trip was set to leave a lasting impression. A 3D one…

“When I came back home, I knew I needed to do something that, as a product designer, would create my interpretation of my two days in Lapland”, he said.

Nokia_YounesDuret_02My name is prints

With worldwide clients ranging from Sergio Rossi to Grace hotels, Younes travels a lot, taking inspiration from the places he goes and people he meets. However, it’s 3D-printing that has allowed him to supercharge his outlook.

“When I first started studying in 2000 we already had these technologies. As a product designer, I’ve always lived and worked with 3D-printing, which had made prototyping much easier.”

“However, the printers were super expensive and, unless you were Tom Dixon, you couldn’t have one in your studio. But two years ago the prices dropped. As soon as we could, we bought the MakerBot Replicator 2.

“I was the first person in Africa to have one”, he told me.

Nokia_Younes-Duret_06Home printing

Younes not only creates for big brands, but designs smaller products that, in his words: “shows that 3D-printing isn’t just for professionals and that, if you have a 3D-printer, you can make products pretty easily and express your ideas.”

“When I create a product like this, I want the idea to be quite spontaneous and of the moment. Upon returning from Lapland, I was super inspired by everything I saw. I wanted to keep this feeling and start working on the design straight away.”

“I played with the idea of a snowflake repetition creating a complex design, which correlates with a lot of my existing work with mathematical Arabic patterns. From here I made my own graphical structure of the snowflake and repeated the element to create the design you see on the case.”

It’s a direct response of my memory of the whole trip; I wanted to make the link between the Lumia in Lapland and the Lumia in Marrakech”, he said.


However, creating the bespoke Lumia 1520 case didn’t take Yours long.

“With the 1520, the most time-consuming aspect of design was making sure I had the correct measurements for the handset. The whole process took around three hours”, he continued.

A case of subtlety

However, while Younes was keen to extol the simplicity of the case, the intricacy of the design goes beyond the pattern:

“Lumia phones are about the optics, so I wanted to protect the camera lens within the design. The corners are also reinforced to protect the phone, if dropped.”

“The reason for the rounded design at the bottom is not only graphic, it’s for knowing where to place your finger when taking a shot; to prevent you from obscuring the flash or the optics itself.”


“I also wanted to keep the weight right down. It’s just 17g”, he said.

The next dimension

The future of 3D-printing and mobile technology has been in discussion for many years. From smartphone cases to food, there seems no end to what’s possible. However, Younes has his concerns about 3D-printing in the home:

“The problem isn’t the 3D-printer. Right now, Thingiverse is great for downloading basic designs, however people want to create their own 3D models. The programs used to do this are very complicated.”


“For it to grow, the software needs to be simpler and available in app form for all phones. I’ve seen some of the latest technologies and I’m optimistic – just look how many 3D-printing projects are on KickStarter -, but it’s going to take a while”, he said.

Free D

To commemorate his trip, Younes is giving away his bespoke case as a free download. You’ll need to have a 3D Printer or have access to someone that does (a shop, for example).


“Reflecting the simplicity of the design idea, I wanted to offer something simple in return. Even with the cheapest 3D printer, you will be able to print this case.”

For those without 3D printers (or access to one), Younes is selling the Lumia 1520 case for €25.

What are your thoughts of home 3D printing? Let us know, below!