With the IKEA temporary show that included a concept kitchen, Milan was abuzz discussing the future of flat pack shipping and embedded technology. IKEA's charging-hub furniture became available to buy for the first time and their own Björn Block spoke at frog Milan about the future of their stores and distribution. All of this talk had us asking ourselves - does it even matter how we ship? In the 'Future' won't we just be sending files to local distributors? Will flat pack even matter?
One of the few places during Milan 2015 that open source and distributed manufacturing did enter the conversation was at the historic Palazzo Clerici. The Atilier as one of the most classic italian exhibition spaces of the week was home to some of the most progressive ideas and products of design week. Here are four of our favorites that touch on the future of tech and design.
The platform and database Opendesk shared their vision for a future of making and distributing furniture and objects through open-source sharing of designs. Their 'Open-Making Model' allows a network of independent designers to upload designs on the site that is accessible by anyone. People interested in owning one of the designs can search through the database of CNC Routers and digital fabrication locations and find and select a closeby place to cut their new piece. This method requires little (if any) shipping and distribution costs and allowing designers on their platform a global customer base.
Opendesk shows a few of the designs available through their platform.
For many of us, a transparent understanding of how everyday products are made has been lost. Now, as power shifts from the old economies, we are forced to consider new possibilities. Through emerging, connected technologies we can begin to imagine a more socially, environmentally and economically conscious model - a democratised means of production fit for the 21st century…and in the process, we have the chance to locally reconnect with the act of making.
Hacking Households by Leonardo Amico, Thibault Brevet, Coralie Gourguechon, Jure Martinec, Nataša Muševic with Mentors Tilen Sepic and Jesse Howard
Under the guidance of none other than Jesse Howard and Tilen Sepic, the Hacking Households team developed a series of objects from a set of modular components that act in the same way blocks of code do in open source software. The team developed a series of adaptable objects that can reconfigure, be forked or hacked to the user's preference.
Amsterdam-based Jesse Howard has become known for his open sourced designs, giving power back to consumers to hack and build their own domestic objects. In Database Lamps the design begins with standard manufactured dimensions for table top lamps, a special user interface allows consumers to generate their own components for 3d printing their own variations of the classic balanced-arm lamp.
What if all of the information needed to create an object was embedded into the object itself?
Last but not least was a playful project from Leonardo Amico and Coralie Gourguechon. Paper User Interfaces 'PUI' and Paper Electronic Modules 'PEM' explore electronic circuitry built with paper.
Using conductive ink, personal ink-jet printers can be transformed into circuit printers, suggest a future in which electronic appliances can be cheaply and easily printed at home. PUI combines this technology with an analogue interface and digital touch-based gestures, showing electronic functions through graphics and 3D shapes.
Paper User Interfaces
More work from Atelier Clerici during Milan Design Week can be seen on their website.
Teshia Treuhaft is a Michigan-born designer. Upon graduating from back-to-back degrees, a BFA from the University of Michigan and MFA of Furniture Design from RISD, she moved to Berlin to pursue a research project considering shifting paradigms in design education. Teshia currently works at the tangible UX startup Senic.