Design and the designer’s role are evolving and adapting to a new digitized world. We see the rise of a new kind of designer that challenges how goods are produced and how customers relate to their products. The Maker movement is a loose global movement of individuals who focus on making physical projects but with a digital layer and digital tools, often with collaborative processes and the sharing of the digital files or documentation.
Makers often meet and work in globally-networked laboratories such as Fab Labs, Makerspaces and Hackerspaces that provide access to a local and global community of like-minded actors and to several digital fabrication technologies able to manufacture easily and locally digital projects. We call the union of these two trends Distributed Design.
These new designers and makers design, self-produce and take part in the distribution of their products. They work with new technology and digital platforms that allows for global sharing, co-design and distribution. More products are now designed, created and shared in global platforms and are produced locally with local materials, in small batches and customized to the needs of the consumer.
Distributed Design Award is a partnership between Distributed Design Market Platform and INDEX:Award which focuses on sustainable solutions that can save our future and which are made in a fashion which inspire massive global collaboration.
Out of 40 applications for the Distributed Design Award, Distributed Design Market Platform chose 14 projects from the nomination pool of INDEX: Award. The selection criteria were:
The design can travel globally to be manufactured locally; Is the design accessible through digital platforms? Eg. through an online repository or online archive where files can be downloaded. How is the project already distributed in the world? How many times it has been downloaded, made, bought, assembled, forked. What is the distribution strategy? Is it produced in a central factory and shipped to the world?
The design takes local availability into account and is based on globally available materials and hardware;
Does the product allow for customization? What is the strategy for supply chain and manufacture of the product? Is the production of the product close to to its final consumption?
The design creates value for people, companies, and/or society. Are there principles of circular economy in the product? Is it designed or developed by the use of extended intelligent tools? E.g. Machine Learning or Parametric Design tools. What is the impact expected of the project? Is it trying to solve a specific issue?
Of the 14 shortlisted projects which have now been announced, three will be chosen as finalists by an internal jury. The finalists will be announced at the DDMP event in Amsterdam at ‘We Make the City’ and will attend a event in Copenhagen in September where the winner of the Distributed Design Award 2019 will be announced.
Among the finalists are some really inspiring designs: For instance glasses made of plastic waste, open-hardware audio speakers, a skin cancer prevention tool and underwear with a built-in alarm designed for women in India. Check out all the finalists here. We look forward to see the winner chosen!
Distributed Design Market Platform is a platform membership of 12 partners, supported by the European Union through the Creative Europe fund and an Advisory Board made up of experts related to Distributed Design.
You can read more about the project here.