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Curator and writer Daniel Charny explains why making, hacking and fixing represent the future of design in this interview filmed at the Dezeen Live series of talks at 100% Design.
Charny discusses the return of craft and the renewed interest in repairing broken objects rather than throwing them away. “We just printed the back of this remote control that was about to go to landfill,” he says, talking about Fixperts, a high-tech repair service for broken objects. “It took ten minutes and it’s back in circulation.”
This will become commonplace in future as the “circular economy” evolves, Charny argues, aided by the rise of Fab Labs, domestic 3D printers and open-source attitudes.
When an object requires a new part “you will download the data and print it,” he says. “You might even improve it. You’ll upload the improvement and other people will use it.”
Charny talks about the Power of Making, an exhibition he curated at the V&A in London to raise awareness of craft. “My interest was to remind people that almost all of us can make,” he says. “We’re in an era when people don’t know about the things we use; we don’t know how to fix them. Our instinct when something is broken or not working is to go and replace it instead of think how to fix it.”
He then shows children in Jalalabad constructing a laser-cut chess set at a Fab Lab – a “fabrication laboratory” where people can access high-tech manufacturing equipment.
Charny suggests that Fab Labs could soon become as widespread as libraries: “The future of libraries will be a hub of computers, rather than shelves of books. You’re going to be downloading data, printing books on demand, printing objects.”
Finally, he introduces his Fixperts project, a matchmaking service that introduces inventive designers to people with everyday design problems. “[The designer] tries to understand the behaviour of the person and fix [the problem] with materials that are low cost in an ingenious way,” he explains.
Dezeen Live was a series of discussions between Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs and a number of designers and critics that took place as part of the talks programme at design exhibition 100% Design during the 2012 London Design Festival.
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