Last weekend I went to the Design Museum by Tower Bridge as they had an exhibition called ‘the future is here: the new industrial revolution’
We are in the midst of a transformation in the way we design, make and use the objects that we depend on. It is a transformation that will affect commerce, industry, and the way that we all live as profoundly as any previous Industrial Revolution. The exhibition explores how the boundaries between designer, manufacturer and consumer are becoming increasingly blurred.
Topics such as open source design, customisation, crowd-funding, 3D printing, local manufacturing are scratched upon, the central theme being the democratisation of design and production.
It suggests that consumers want to be more involved in designing the products they use, everything from their sofas to lemon squeezers and brings up examples such as ikea hackers, made.com’s corwd-source design competition (more on this in next post) and adidas customised sneakers. When it comes to furniture, I certainly would like more of an input for certain objects (wouldn’t it be amazing to decide exactly how long you want the dining table depending on your dining room or kitchen? or draw up a sofa and have it made exactly how you pictured it in your mind?) but I really don’t have the interest of designing my own lemon squeezer. Also, I might not be representative in this question as I’m a bit obsessed with furniture and home decoration. But can everyone be a designer? Would consumers value this? And to what price?
An interesting aspect is how smaller companies can benefit from these changes. Vitamins, a design studio in Shoreditch uses open-source electronics to design ideas and then quickly churn out a prototype. Check out their website here.
The exhibition poses a lot of questions and I don’t walk out with a clearer view of the future at all. But at least with some interesting thoughts and ideas!
The Femur stool is digitally designed and manufactured. The form is generated using an algorithm based on the weight and proportions of a particular user.