“What Does It Mean To Make An Experiment?” is a research project between KADK’s School of Design and CITA set to investigate the position, role and significance of the experiment within design led research.
Daniel Charny presented the opening keynote asking: are experiments really a part of design practice as much as designers claim ? or does the reoccurring lack of hypothesis, method and rigour mean it’s a misguided use of the concept ? Where does experimental design take place and who is actually experimenting with design? These questions were intended to set the scene for the symposium at KADK, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, organised by Lecturer in Textile Design Mary Ann Hansen and CITA Associate Professor Martin Tamke.
Other speakers included Berlin designer Bukhard Schmidt from Seven.5, to discuss material-based research in design practice – the tensions between process vs product and methodology vs origination. Other speakers included Carol Collet, Paul Nicholas and Ulrika Karlson.
With new programmes come new websites and so the CONNECT/ZA’s MAKER LIBRARY NETWORK, designed and delivered by Koby Barhad and Jim Rhodes, has arrived! Now including the recently joined Maker Library in the MACHINES ROOM @LIMEWHARF, in East London and soon also Maker Library at MOAD Johannesburg. New events across the network can be seen on the June events pogramme and additional downloads in the resources section including the original Open Design Manifesto & Italic Shelves by Ronen Kadushin. An exciting new section is the start of our Mentor’s Pool which includes inspiring makers such as Bethany Koby and Daniel Hirschmann, the founders of Technology Will Save Us and the artist and co-founder of Troika Conny Freyer.
This is the 6th year I’ve been invited to nominate for the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year, so took the opportunity to look back at what I’ve put forward since 2008. It’s mostly been product or furniture and increasingly social and digital. There’s always a wheelchair, usually a medical product and something that hasn’t quite fit into one of the categories. As was the case with a service design project in 2010. For this year’s show, expertly curated by Gemma Curtin and elegantly designed by Huntington Narud, I nominated: Chair 4 Life, a wheelchair that adapts to its users, by Renfrew Group; The Seaboard Grand, a keyboard without keys by Roli [Product category winner] and Peek, a pocket-sized ophthalmology department by PeekVision [Digital category winner]. One category winner will go on to be named the overall winner.
Next week, From Now On will be working from South Africa, with the British Council Connect ZA team, to launch the The Maker Library Network on the EXPO events stage of Design Indaba. and as part of the events opening the World Design Capital 2014.
The project has developed exponentially since our small sketch last October. Six Maker Libraries across the UK and South Africa are ready to go as the foundation for a new open design platform that connects makers across the UK and South Africa. To do so, we’re setting up a series of stimulating creative environments that combine a makespace, gallery and library, and regularly collaborate with an online community of makers and mentors.
The British Council team will also be launching an Open Call in search of new librarians in South Africa to join and set up their own Maker Libraries and grow the network. If you are in Cape Town, come visit our librarians Heath Nash and Tetsuo Mukai from Study O Portable at Guild, or Thingking at Design Indaba. In the UK, please check out our MLs at Makerversity London with Candyce, at MAKlab in Glasgow with Richard, or in the courtyard of GRAS in Edinburgh with Gunnar and Stuart. More info on the Open Call Soon.
Earlier this year, Daniel Charny was invited by the British Council Arts team to visit South Africa and come up with a proposal for the design and makers strand of their Connect ZA Programme, headed by Tom Porter and managed by Sarah Mann. A team including curator Catriona Duffy of Panel, designer Mil Stricevic and architects Stuart Falconer of GRAS and James Binning of Assemble travelled together to Jo’burg and Capetown, met fantastic people and visited significant places for the creative community.
A few months later and From Now On are happily working closely with the BC’s Arts teams in the UK and SA. The first sketch of the project ,code name The Maker Library Network and aimed at creating connections between young creatives and audiences in the UK and South Africa has just taken place at the Open Government Partnership Summit with ThingKing in Cape Town and Makerversity in London. More about this exciting open design network project soon.
You can check out the very first sketch trial mock up doodle experiment on www.makerlibraries.org and tell us what you think !
LDF is gearing up for the 2013 festival and this year among the many events it looks like there are more critical debates than ever before. Is this a classic sign of recession prone low cost events or a step up towards a proactive culture of enterprising engagement? With platforms as varied as the international Global Design Forum heavyweights to the experimental off-ground TREEHUB it definitely seems more of the latter.
Daniel Charny will be taking part in a number of these across town. First up is the mysterious secret speaker TREE/HUB sessions on technology in Peckham, a new discussion format focusing on the topic; other speakers include Stuart Bannocks, James Bridle, Gregory Epps, Sam Hill, Matt Ward and Dominic Wilcox. The following week on 18th September at the V&A Daniel will join Nico Macdonald‘s discussion on Productive Partnerships along with Andy Huntington from BERG.
Later this month, on the 29th of September, the Design Council will host a Bee Lab Breakfast conversation on Open Design, where the panel will be responding to the question ‘Just because it is open, does that mean it’s good ?’ Daniel will speak alongside Robert Phillips and Tom Hulme to name a few. On the 8th of October (is that still the LDF?) Daniel will participate in the public debate around The Future is Here at the Design Museum.
Fixperts will have pride of place at this year’s London Design Festival invited by Disegno and Brompton Design District to participate in its inaugural 3-day design market on Exhibition Road September 19-21. Come visit and join the Fixperts who will be there to explain, ask and listen to ideas on how this unexpected project can grow.
The LDF team has also enterprisingly invited Fixperts co-founders James Carrigan and Daniel Charny to present the creative social initiative to an expert panel and the international audience of the Global Design Forum, in a new format titled:’Five by Five: Ideas to shake the world’. Having launched the Fixperts pilot during the LDF last year it will be a very exciting way to wrap up an incredible first year !
British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) held its annual conference under the broad theme of “Design Invention, Art and Science Collide” at the RIBA in London. Chaired by Aidan Walker, Professor Sue Timney, Deyan Sudjic and Daniel Charny discussed issues around the question “How is technology redefining craft ?”. Other speakers along the day included Ab Rogers, Professor Penny Sparke and Thomas Heatherwick.
A new design of Fixperts.org now with over 50 fix films from around the world and behind the scenes research was launched as Fixperts films showcased at RSA Future Maker . The day-long drop-in Maker Market Place at Somerset house driven by RSA’s Design Directors included various creative technologists running workshops and talks around making and Circular Economy. Fixperts recently featured in DAMn and Disegno presented the most recent contributions – a series of FixFilms from Tongji University in China.
University for the Creative Arts Research & Enterprise invited Daniel Charny to give one of two keynote presentations alongside musician Matthew Herbert on their Staff Conference Customise! themed day. The talk entitled [Insert Title Here] was a joint conversation/presentation with Professor Ulrich Lehmann surveying and reflecting on the impact of MC (Mass Customisation).
The Crafts Council of Irelands Future Makers award ‘rewards excellence in craftsmanship and innovation for work created by makers who are embarking on a career in a craft-based discipline. The FM award provides practical support and professional encouragement to a craftsperson at a critical point in their career.’ The assessment criteria are quality, technical expertise, new and innovative ideas or processes and potential for future development. In short: imaginative use of skills. 2013 Future Makers assessors: Peter Sheehan & Daniel Charny met the Crafts Council of Ireland team in Kilkenny to see and discuss the shortlisted pieces.
On Saturday 16th of February alumni of Platform 10 study group from RCA years 2003 – 2013 met at Bunhill Fields Burial Grounds off City Road to reflect and celebrate past adventures. The invitation sent out by Nick Gardner triggered an international flurry of emails and resulted in some 30 representatives attending the event.
Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) Design Directors Nat Hunter and Sophie Matthews commissioned Daniel Charny to curate the stand of their new perception changing initiative The Great Recovery at 100% Design 2012. The stand, designed by Thomas.Matthews, presented a collaboration with Islington Council’s repair and reuse shop Bright Sparks founded by Diye Wariebi of Digibridge combining a 3d printer making missing parts (see first pict below of Jim with his Emaker Huxley). Other exhibits included new designs reusing discarded components by recent RCA graduate Gaspard Tine-Beres and hosted the launch of Fixperts.org pilot project (more about how this project soon).
Warsaw Academy of Fine Art Design department are setting Fixperts as a project for their design students and recent graduates of a group called PG13 lead by Tomek Rygalik. The launch of first Fixperts school project collaboration, was announced by Daniel Charny during the dynamic and inquisitive Lodz Design Festival 2012. PG13 will run the project in their first term this year and results of their Fixfilms should be up on the Fixperts.org website by end of January 2013. Next up for Fixperts: James Carrigan will be talking about the project at Retune, a creative technology conference in Berlin on Friday 26 October.
This years London Design Festival started for Daniel Charny with the curating of the Great Recovery stand for RSA at 100% Design, designed by Thomas Matthews; then talking at the first Global Design Forum with Thomas Heatherwick about working with clients; the next day with Monocle’s design editor Hugo Macdonald about the LDF role in generating new work see podcast on Section D #50. Day 5 as ‘Design Brain’ on Dezeen Live with Marcus Fairs talking about authenticity; Day 6 was judging and presenting at Be Open Think Tank design awards; and day 6 was the most exciting launching of the new initiative Fixperts.org with James Carrigan and the amazing Fixperts team.
As part of the Victoria and Albert Museum events celebrating British design and creativity from 1948 to the present day Design and… Education is the first in a series of panel discussions at the V&A’s Sackler Centre set to question and critique how this legacy has come to be and if it is to be sustained how should it be developed. Chaired by Wayne Hemingway, Hemingway Design, the panel includes: Martin Roth, Director, V&A; Daniel Charny, Royal College of Art; Sophie Thomas, Royal Society of Arts; Richard Seymour, Seymourpowell; Emily Campbell, Creative Education Academies and Mat Hunter, Design Council.
Design & Making is a series of essays exploring the importance of craft and design today published by Danish Crafts. Editor-in-Chief Max Fraser, editors Birgitte Jahn, Kristian Kastoft, Anders Kongskov Olsen, Nina Tolstrup. Contributors Daniel Charny, Magnus Englund, Grant Gibson, Lesley Jackson, Birgitte Jahn, William Knight, Libby Sellers and Paul de Zwart.
[images from Design & Making graphic design by Richard Ardagh Studio]