David Benqué, a student in the Design Interactions department at the Royal College of Art, worked closely with 3D Mintegration to envision what it might mean for factories to scale down and move back into the heart of the city, in the form of street vendor stalls, mini-buses and temporary tents. The project, part of the IMPACT! exhibition at the Royal College of Art, is entitled Fabulous Fabbers.
3D-Mintegration is a small team intent on radically rethinking manufacturing, "researching new techniques to manufacture complex, miniaturised and integrated products, with cheaper and smaller infrastructure than the current silicon industry." We don't know exactly what this means, only that it involves micro- and nano- scale engineering in the assembly of high tech goods.
Benqué distills it down for us a bit, at least in terms of how this may impact our experience of fabrication and the city:
The factories are coming to town! They are moving away from the unseen fringes, and into our cities. Advances in micro-scale engineering point to a global scale revolution where local, disposable factories produce hi tech goods at our very doorstep. What shapes might this new way of "making things" take within our urban landscape ? From garage-workshops to circus-like temporary structures, from street vendor stalls to vagabond encampments, this project explores the factories of the future and what our relationship to them might be, with the exciting prospect of taking back ownership over our production tools.
To illustrate this, he's proposed (in miniature, of course) a few new archetypes of our micro-manufacturing future, including the Rogue Factory, Mobile Manufacturing Unit, and Self Replicating Street Stalls:
Self Replicating Street Stall: The street Genie can print any product you might think of, including a working copy of itself.
Rogue Factory: If rogue mobile factories could produce custom high-tech goods, what would the black market of "special orders" look like?
Mobile Manufacturing Unit: This corporate factory tours the country, setting up in cities for a few months at a time. As the population welcomes a new source of goods, jobs and manufacturing techniques, it is celebrated as an event.