New kids on the block: the future is here


In recent years, London's Design Museum was supposed to have been a place at the centre of the design debate, yet it had become just the home of design; as in the place where you could find all those product design icons of the past (and some recent creations too). These where just for looking at, never to interact with. Relevant and thought provoking questions where rarely asked. The design process behind these icons, the failures the Castiglionis, the Chalayans and the Newsons must have (surely!) encountered, very rarely shown. So, as a young product designer this made for a very daunting experience; there it was, the finest example of design telling you "phwaa...there is no space for your work on this shelf, next to me" and you left, dragging your humbled self esteem out of the Museum with you.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I visited "The Future (was)is here" on Sunday. There where young designers playing around with mini CNC routers, desktop laser cutters and of course 3D printers, there where lots of chin scratching and failures first attempts at creating an object. There was lots more food for thought, the focus wasn't on new technologies per se, but mainly on how new ways of production change our relation with the products we use and wear (some depressing and some really exciting!).

I particularly like Ron Arad's view on the technology behind his 3D printed glasses: we "should talk about what is good about the glasses, not about how they are made" (these glasses are printed in one piece and with a "hinge" that allows them to flex only in one way)

Digits2Widgets vision of where 3D printing goes is "not that there is a universal kind of machine that everybody has in their house; that would be really depressing because humanity has developed skills over millions of years and 3D printers are just a tool that will allow you to bring something else into the mix". Yet "the physical characteristics of a 3D printed material make it unique, and in order to make interesting things you are having to be creative with the design".

 But just as importantly here is what people (in the UK) think about new technologies:

Here is an interesting article I just read on 3D printing and counterfeit.

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