Archive for the 'Post Industrial Manufacturing' Category

3D Printing – the Craft of the Future?

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I gave a keynote lecture at an International Symposium in October 2014 at UNAM, Mexico City. The subject was 3D printing and the likely impact that the new technology might have on the role of the industrial designer and design education.

The two-day event was titled NUEVOS HORIZONTES DEL DISEÑO (New Horizons in Design) and was held in the Unidad de Posgrados (Postgraduate University). It was very well attended, with all three invited speakers getting great responses and a lot of questions. .

You can access the webpage of the event here


3D Printing – the Craft of the Future?

I gave the keynote lecture at a public presentation last week (5 March) in Vienna, Austria to the city’s Chamber of Commerce. The subject was 3D printing and the likely impact that the new technology might have in economic, social and ethical terms.


The evening event was held in the impressive conference room at the offices of Vienna’s largest bank, Erste Bank, and was organised by Creative Industries Austria. It was very well attended, with all three invited speakers getting a ggod response and a lot of questions. The networking event that followed the talks was very useful too..

You can access the webpage hosting a slideshow of the lecture here

And the video of the talk itself is on youtube

Refab Space and FabLab: Learning Lunch with Integreat Plus

I attended a really interesting event yesterday – a ‘Learning Lunch’ with Integreat Plus hosted by Sheffield’s Electric Works. The subject was the potential role of a FabLab in Sheffield, which would be a fantastic resource for all creative practitioners, both professional and amateur in the area.

The Access Space, Sheffield

The Chips building, home of Manchester's Fablab









The event was efficiently chaired by Richard Motely, the Managing Director of Integreatplus (despite some problems with the projection technology!). Two short presentations were made, one by James Wallbank, chief executive officer of Access Space, and the other by Eddie Kirkby of the Manufacturing Institute. Kirkby is closely involved with the successfully up and running FabLab in Manchester.

Together, they gave a concise overview of the potential for FabLabs to provide free, open access to lifelong learning and development, as well as the ability for a diverse range of people (importantly including disabled people who might otherwise be marginalised) to design and produce a wide range of products without relying on the existing mass production/consumption paradigm.

For more details and a different perspective, you could have a look at Jane Lambert’s blog. As a barrister specialising in Intellectual Property, she has a particular interest in the possible impact of Open Design and direct digital manufacturing on professional design.



Post Industrial Manufacturing: The Impact of Emerging Production Technologies on Design

Post Industrial Manufacturing: The Impact of Emerging Production Technologies on Design in Atkinson, P (Ed.) Designing Impact! Approaches to Applied Research,
Northend, Sheffield 2011, 256 pp  ISBN: 978-0-95683366-2

This book is a collaboration between the Art & Design Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). It highlights numerous case studies of practice-based research projects from both institutions, all with explanatory text in English and Chinese. These projects cover everything from graphic design identities, design work for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, large scale sculptural installations, craft production of knives, the development of new construction materials, new techniques to patinate metalware, and a section on my own research – ‘Post Industrial Manufacturing: The Impact of Emerging Production Technologies on Design’.

Open Design Presentation in Gothenburg

5th October, 2011

I spent most of last week in Sweden, and gave a talk on Open Design at the Business and Design Lab at the University of Gothenburg. The talk took place in the HDK building, which has been a School of Art and Design since it opened over 160 years ago! The presentation appeared to go well, with over 100 people attending, and raised many questions from the audience.

More details of the content of the presentation can be found on the Business and Design Lab’s website here.


I Did it My Way: User engagement in Post Industrial Manufacturing

Atkinson, P, Marshall, J, Unver, E & Dean, LT (2011)
I Did it My Way: User engagement in Post Industrial Manufacturing,
Proceedings of
SIM2011: Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing,
Leiria pp 679-687, IST Press,  ISBN 978-989-8481-03-0

I gave this paper last week at the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing. The conference was well attended by people with a diverse range of backgrounds across engineering, design and sustainability, which meant that the questions at the end of papers seemed to come from all directions. I was one of four staff from the Art and Design Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University attending the conference, with the Head of the ADRC, Paul Chamberlain, delivering the first keynote speech, and two staff, Heath Reed and Roger Bateman running a workshop on Inclusive Design (see images below).

Abstract. Direct digital manufacturing has brought with it a number of benefits: close to zero waste, manufacture at the point of use, less production and stockpiling and fewer carbon miles in distribution. The potential is for a huge reduction in mass-production on a global scale. However, it could be argued that such processes could create vast amounts of readily discarded, sub-standard products, increasing rather than decreasing consumption.

It is important, therefore, to create design and manufacturing systems that will allow amateur users to become closely involved in the co-creation of high quality products that have a deeper meaning to the user than mass-produced goods. This paper describes two such systems, used to create products for a public exhibition, where one of the systems was available for visitors to use. A selection of their designs were manufactured and added to the growing display.

The results were incredibly positive. Visitors felt that they had created something of real value. They had done it their way. Their relationship with their creations meant these objects would not be thoughtlessly cast aside. It would appear that Post Industrial Manufacturing Systems that allow a high level of user involvement in the co-creation of objects could hold the key to the reduction of global product consumption in a sustainable future.

Paul Chamberlain, Roger Bateman and Heath Reed in Lisbon


  Heath and Roger’s workshop on inclusive design












Delivering ‘I Did It My Way’

Open Design Now book launch in Amsterdam

8 June 2011,
Pakhuis De Zwijger, Amsterdam

The new book, Open Design Now: why design cannot remain exclusive, was launched this week in Amsterdam.
As the website of the book explains: “Design is undergoing a revolution. Technology is empowering more people to create and disseminate designs, and professionals and enthusiasts are using it to share their work with the world. Open design is changing everything from furniture to how designers make a living.”
Full details about this timely book, which covers all aspects of this emerging field of practice, can be found on the Premsela website here.

The launch was very well attended, and the editors and many of the authors were interviewed before the audience, explaining the various drivers behind the project. A number of machines producing open source designs were also on display, including an Ultimaker machine and a laser cutter, which I spotted was cutting paper necklaces made from the words of a quote from my own contribution to the book: “The Cult of the Connoisseur has given way to the Cult of the Amateur – those who know themselves what is best for them”.

In the true spirit of openness, the book is gradually being made available online under the Creative Commons Licence. My article, ‘Orchestral Manoeuvres in Design’ is the first article to be openly accessible, and can be accessed at the book’s official website here.

Left: Three of the editors of the book, Bas Van Abel, Roel Klaassen and Lucas Evers are interviewed on stage by journalist and writer Tracy Metz to answer questions about Open Design Now.

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