Meet Smart Doll - The Social Media Art Doll

Meet Smart Doll - The Social Media Art Doll

Generally, fashion dolls are designed, manufactured, and marketed with the same notion the market expects. Danny Choo surprises fashion doll enthusiasts by fusing the innovations of 3D printing, traditional casting, and the principles of wabi-sabi to bring to the masses Smart Doll.

The name Smart Doll stands for Social Media Art Doll. Smart doll is a work of art that has been designed to add value to the owners life. Just like a smartphone can expand its value through the development of apps, Smart Dolls extend their significance through a community of social media networking. This kind of marketing not only gives notoriety to Danny Choo’s flagship product but also the Japanese culture.

There are many kinds of fashion dolls on the market, but what differentiates Smart Doll is the innovative production process and design philosophies.

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The production process is a fusion between modern 3D printing technology and traditional Japanese casting. The doll is sculpted in 3D software programs and then printed out with the team’s own in house printer. The next step involves making silicon molds that can be used for duplicating the wax pieces. The wax is then molded into copper molds by a process called electroforming. At this point, the manufacturing process uses a traditional casting method called slush casting. This involves pouring liquid vinyl into the copper molds. Once the mold is prepared, the development team can begin to produce Smart Doll frames.

There is innovation and creativity involved in the manufacturing process, however, the three Japanese aesthetic principles that Danny Choo has applied to Smart Doll make Culture Japan’s flagship product an outlier. Smart Doll employs the principles of Fukinsei, Shizen, and Datsuzoku.

Fukinsei is beauty in imperfection. The slush casting in the manufacturing process creates imperfections into each smart doll. Although all smart dolls will look the same at first glance, each will have a different kind of blemish that makes each Smart Doll as unique as a finger print. Most fashion dolls are designed to have symmetrical faces that give them an alien look, however, Danny Choo has decided to design his Smart Dolls with the kind of asymmetrical faces that humans posses. This aesthetic quality gives a sense of life in each fashion doll and it brings the owner closer to calling their Smart Doll a companion.

If I feel that a blemish looks natural enough to not degrade the overall aesthetic looks of Smart Doll then I will approve them to be shipped - If I knowingly let out poor quality products then that would reflect on the brand and my future”
— Danny Choo

Shizen is absence of pretense. Danny Choo applies the principle of Shizen when marketing his Smart Doll. He lists out the cons of owning a Smart Doll because he wants to ensure that the product fulfills the expectations of his customers. Such cons include the imperfections, a shipping label that identifies the product and compromises a low key buyer, it is an expensive product, and a list of other inconveniences for the conventional enthusiast.

“I’m not in this for the money - if I was then remaining as a salaryman at Amazon or Microsoft would have been a better choice”
— Danny Choo

Datsuzoku is unconventional. The doll has been designed with a few concepts not seen in the fashion doll product line. Introducing air stands and triple axis joints allows the doll to be posed in mid air with a wider range of expressions. However, the most unconventional application is the marketing which is aimed towards users that want to bring Smart Dolls with them into social settings. Danny Choo is marketing his Smart Doll to be shared on social networks and brought along for events and travels. That alone goes against the grain of keeping customers anonymous.

Trolls are a source of my motivation and they can be yours too
— Danny Choo

In Danny Choo’s eyes smart doll is a symbol of Japan. Smart doll is created in Japan using Japanese aesthetic principles and manufacturing methods. Even his signature character, Mirai, is a mascot of Japan tourism. When the smart doll is seen overseas, its design instantly reflects Japanese pop culture.

Anyone interested in seeing these works of art can visit Danny Choo’s shop in Gotanda or purchase a Smart Doll here.

Satoshi Hyodo

Satoshi Hyodo

#4 - Warwick Francis

#4 - Warwick Francis