Designer: Makedo - Paul Justin
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Award: Professional Runner-Up
Makedo is a reusable connector system that enables construction using everyday materials including cardboard, plastic and fabric to create new things. Makedo has the ability to shift perceptions around waste and inspire social change through playful creativity. Makedo comprises three simple parts: the re-clip, the lock-hinge and the safe-saw.
In 2007, after 5 years working in a commercial design studio, I went to Salon Internazionale Del Mobile, to get inspired for a future in furniture design. I became incredibly disillusioned with the entirely unsustainable excess on show. For the first time I saw product design as fashion. I did not see ideas that were seeking to benefit society but merely provide more aesthetic choice to a slim few. During that trip to Milan, I wrote a brief to myself for what would constitute an idea worthy of bringing to market - something open-ended, a system rather than a product, taking in social and ecological consideration, and above all simple.
My second child Ezra was 4yrs old at the time the idea was forming. Ezra is a hands-on maker type but with a wild imagination that demands immediacy. We were spending a lot of time making - in one play session he would 'need' a rocket and a space outfit and by the next day it was a castle and a horse.
Makedo began as a much smaller idea, but I soon saw that it had the capacity to fulfill the Milan brief and the Ezra brief at once. The briefs merged and I was now focused on a system of making that was simple enough for a child to use. The more I broke it down to its basic elements, the more open-ended it became and the more green it could be - in product and philosophy.
Core77: What's the latest news or development with your project?
For us, Makedo has always been far more than a product. A big part of our concept is the the creative process it facilitates and the creative community it had the potential to nurture. So one of the most exciting developments for us is the emergence of what we've been calling 'Makedo Master Makers'. We have a handful of brilliantly creative people from different parts of the globe who are making with Makedo and turning it into a bit of an art form. The exciting part for us is they are inspiring others to make and so we are seeing creativity breed further playful creativity - which was one of our aims in the first place. So we are focused on using our website, Facebook and Twitter platforms to help drive this community of makers.
What is 1 quick anecdote about your project?
The first Makedo parts didn't work. Late in 2009, we cut a soft tool to test the design. A few thousand pieces later, we had a huge launch exhibition organised, top-tier designers lined up to make creations and cartons of dysfunctional connectors. We persevered, the launch was a resounding success and incorporating all the lessons from the experience, I redesigned the parts from scratch on my first day back in the studio.
Read on for full details on the project and jury comments.