HBL Trend analysis: open source design

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Triso typeface by Ric Bell is available as a downloadable graphic for CNC machining at SomeRightsReserved by Kithkin
At recent trade shows and student exhibitions, a clear trend has emerged that sees a new generation of designers creating and exploring the possbilities of open-source design. Open-source product design refers to designs that are available as a set of instructions, accesible to everyone and open to the individual's interpretation. By using the internet to nurture this new way of designing, we are seeing the emergence of a new breed of consumer, one who can select, adapt and build his own collection of product designs. In a report this week WGSN examined how open source design could affect the future of the design industry.

Design Academy Eindhoven student Tal Erez's dissertation explores the possibilities of 3D printers in every home by the year 2030
Opinions on the topic have been mixed. Design Academy Eindhoven student Tall Erez's dissertation predicts that by the year 2030 "everyone has a factory and easy-to-use computer programmes that allow him to design, redesign, tweak or re-contextualise" He emphasises the importance of realising the shifting role of the designer and how the industry needs to take heed. "This is not just to benefit the consumer, but also to maintain the validity of a profession that is facing serious questions with the stagnation of old agendas on the one hand, and the imminent emergence of large-scale home manufacturing on the other."
The DIY Chandelier by Rich Brilliant Willing is made out of basic hardware store items with assembly instructions available on http://www.dailycandy.com/.../Bright-Idea-a-DIY-Chandelier-from-Rich-Brilliant-Willing
However New York based designers Theo Richardson and Alexander Williams of Rich Brilliant Willing are more pragmatic. "If we're talking about people designing their own kitchen spoons and chairs and lamps then it seems only natural. The reality is people have been "designing" and crafting these utilitarian objects themselves for centuries. This is more a new take on consumerism than a new take on the design profession as it where. Will open-source design have a big impact? Only when there's a good idea."

Subscribers can see the full report on WGSN-homebuildlife here.