Tagopen design

Ronen Kadushin, folding chairs


“Recent Uploads” – Exhibition Opening from annika. on Vimeo.

My friend and extraordinary open designer Ronen Kadushin (see these blog posts) recently had a vernissage for his new exhibition called “Recent Uploads”.

Ronen says:

Each chair drawe its inspiration from different narratives: design references, emotional states, city life, and street art. (…) The chairs are laser cut from a 6mm aluminum sheet, and bent and assembled by hand. Bending a piece this thick is made easy using a hallmark detail I formulated a few years back; (…) The designs of the chairs were recently uploaded onto my website for anyone to copy, produce or experiment with.

In the video above, you can see how Ronen assembled (or rather: folded) a number of his open design chairs from a flat sheet of metal. It’s pretty amazing, really.

The designs are realeased under a Creative Commons license (by-nc-sa), so you can download and cut them yourself, or buy the complete pieces at Appel Design Gallery, Berlin.

DesignSmash: From idea to product in four hours


Design SmashMy friends Enlai Hooi (oooold website), Fabian Mürmann, Martin Bauer, Wiebke Herger and Jens Nikolaus and a handful of others have kicked off a pretty sweet project, DesignSmash.

When Enlai first approached me to bounce an idea on me we ended up chatting and plotting well into the first night, then again a few days later. And while I had to pull out because I have a full plate these days anyway, Enlai pushed forward and and got the crew together. All that happened in less than two weeks.

So what is DesignSmash? It’s getting from an idea to product in four hours. More concretely, during an event/party, several designers or teams of designers come up with something that can go into the online shop – within just four hours, just in time to join the party.

A number of restrictions apply to make things interesting and shape the process: the designs have to be laser-cuttable, and they have to be shippable in a certain standardized size of envelope.


Once they’re submitted and curated for the shop, the designs will get fixed up to ensure quality control and put on the website. The design files will be shared under a Creative Commons license (which one can be chosen by the artist). Once a product is bought, it’s produced on demand by the local producer – in the case of Berlin that’s Martin of Lasern, and shipped out to the buyer. It’s super lean, and super local.

Parallel events will be taking place in several other cities, the products will be produced locally. And all that just in time to buy Christmas presents: The first DesignSmash event will take place on 20 November at Betahaus Berlin. (Get in touch with the DesignSmash crew if you’d like to host a DesignSmash event in London, New York or another hot spot. Make sure you have access to a laser cutter!)

I can’t wait to see all this in action!

Photo by lasernlasern, some rights reserved

DMY Maker Lab


Yesterday I visited DMY Berlin, one of Berlin’s leading design festivals. In this post I’d like to share a few impressions.

This year, DMY was held at the recently-closed airport Tempelhof, so needless to say the architecture there is quite a backdrop for a design festival. (Check out what Flickr has to offer on Tempelhof.)

I was there primarily to check out the DMY Maker Lab, an area of DMY focused on Open Design.

DMY Maker Lab Trailer from KS12 on Vimeo.

It was initiated by a a loose network called Open Design Berlin, a bunch of folks doing everything from laser cutting to 3D printing to silk screening and much, much more. More than anything, the whole scene reminded me of a mix between a workshop and a playground, and I guess those metaphors both fit in a sense.

Long story short: I asked Michelle Thorne to briefly explain what the Maker Lab is all about; and then asked Christopher Doering and Mendel Heit to say a few words about cooking bioplastic. Below you’ll find a very quick & dirty edit of the video:

DMY Maker Lab from thewavingcat on Vimeo.

The video only covers a tiny fraction of what was going on at the Maker Lab, both in terms of tinkering and people, but alas, there you go. I didn’t even get around to look at the printing, screening, photo booth, food stuff and what not. Nor did I manage to talk to many of the folks as I had to run, and that’s really a pity. As those kinds of loose networks go, they tend to be very diverse and not to have one voice but many. So this video can only hope to give a glimpse.

(My apologies for the poor quality. If anyone wants to re-edit the material, feel free to download the files from my Vimeo channel here, here and here.)

But there was more to discover than the Maker Lab. Some random finds I noticed and found interesting, in no particular order, but worth checking out: nobrand, an Argentinian design studio that works strongly with Argentina’s national icons. The (Un)limited Design Contest where you can win a 3D printer. (The real stuff.) A whole group of Taiwanese designers and design students which pretty much all amazing. The KeepCup, a decent take on re-usable to go cups. The really intense YLWT // Your Sins (-) Our Virtues. And of course the gorgeous installation “for those who see” by Daniel Schulze:

DMY Berlin: Daniel Schulze “For Those Who See” from thewavingcat on Vimeo.

(All designers are listed here.)

To finish off, a few random pics I took while at DMY:

Making my own bioplastics wallet (prototype)


Since I’ve seen Jay Cousins‘ prototype of a wallet he made from self-produced bioplastics a few days ago, I’ve been enthusing about it. Jay kindly offered to run a workshop to teach some of us how to do the same thing. A bunch of people showed up to work with the material Jay had prepared. Below you’ll see some pics to get an idea of general goo-eyness as well as the results.

In case you’re wondering: Nope, it’s not a product you’d want to buy and rely on just yet; and nope, that’s not the point of the exercise. This is a very early prototype where the goal is to learn (about the production process etc) rather than the result. Could my first go at the wallet fall apart? Yes, anytime. But it’d still be totally worth it since I’ve learned a fair bit. And should the thing decide to fall apart next week, it wouldn’t matter: I could just cook up a new one, probably better than the first. (I might even get the stitching right.) Open design, anyone?

Wallet prototype. Bad stitching: my fault.

Weeknotes #187


You Too Can Be Like Us

Still trying to get the hang of writing weeknotes. I’ve been blogging more regularly recently, which makes it harder to tell anything new in the weeknotes. So here’s some of what’s been on my mind last week:

Collaboratory Prep

At the Google-initated Collaboratory on internet and society where I was kindly invited as an expert we’ve wrapped up the analysis of the first round of survey data we gathered. This Wednesday we’ll discuss the data with politicians. Should be interesting. Will report.

Ersatz Conference

There’s sadly no reboot conference this year since Thomas is taking some (very much deserved) time off to reboot. Reboot is one of my all-time favorite conferences. (See here.) Turns out that there are some great folks out there who appreciate reboot just as much and stepped up to run an ersatz conference called: Ersatz Conference. It’s 18/19 June. I booked my flight right away. Can’t wait to go.

Cognitive Cities

No formal announcement yet as we haven’t figured out the details. But we’ll run an event of sorts this fall, too, around the topic of smart cities. Details soon. Also, the good folks and friends behind the Cognitive Cities blog invited me to join them as a contributor to the blog, which I’m excited about. Thanks Igor, Johannes, Axel, Welf!

Conference Wishlist 2010

With Cognitive Cities, an offspring of sorts of atoms&bits, and Ersatz conference mentioned above, I’m getting close to making my conference wishlist 2010.

Open Design Wallet on Boingboing

I already mentioned it: After Jay Cousins showed me the wallet he made from self-produced bioplastic I was blown away; I posted some photos and submitted them to boingboing, who ran them. I was quite surprised to see the post, but of course excited. What I hadn’t thought of was providing a better link. Nonetheless, it seems like there’s quite some interest in this kind of stuff. So Jay volunteered to run a workshop this Thursday. It’ll be at Open Design City (Betahaus Berlin), check Jay’s tweets for updates & details.

What else? Random notes.

I’m re-reading Pattern Recognition (.de link). Even in the third round I’m discovering new stuff. I found out that internet access in some Dubai hotels is about US$45/hour. WTF? The Homesense project tries to make real sense out of smart housing, should be interesting. Facebook keeps freaking me out, particularly with their ever-present “I like” pop ups. Diaspora, a planned distributed social network with a focus on openness and privacy, has been overwhelmed by support and raised $174,007 (instead of the $15,000 they asked for). I still wish I really understood what exactly they are aiming for (An alternative to Facebook? A way to get your data out of Facebook? Something else entirely?) or if they’re are capable of doing it. (I most certainly hope so!) It shows two things very clearly though: There is a huge demand for a more privacy-conscious alternative to Facebook as many of us are pissed off by Facebook’s behavior. And if you have a good idea you can easily get the support you need from the community. Both of those are great to know!

And with that I wish you a great week!

Image: You Too Can Be Like Us, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from atomsandbits’s photostream

iPhone Killer Prototype


Says my friend and open design guru Ronen Kadushin:

Whenever a new hand held device, or new exciting smartphone hits the market, a questions roars through the internets, tech blogs and news: Is this the iPhone killer? The answer is always…well…not quite, not yet…. So I was thinking, maybe these guys who make these devices are not looking at the right place for that iPhone killer. Why don’t I scratch that dream product itch, and transform this buzzword into a real product that it’s soul purpose is to do what it claims to be….. I’d like to introduce you to the iPhonekiller….It’s amazing… It is an open design, you can download it from my website, produce and use it. It is 1.6 Kg , 25mm ( 3.5 lbs, 1 inch) of precision laser cut steel, with a fantastic 36 cm wood ax handle. You can just feel the awesome power of it when you hold it in your hand..It’s amazing…….

And here it is, the iPhone Killer:

iPhone Killer by Ronen Kadushin

iPhone Killer by Ronen Kadushin

Like all Open Design products, you can modify and improve on the design easily. All the CAD files are available for download under a Creative Commons license.

Ronen’s website has all the details for the iPhone Killer.

Images by Ronen Kadushin & Chanan Strauss, some rights reserved

Open Design by Ronen Kadushin


Yesterday I had the chance to see the opening of Ronen Kadushin‘s Open Design exhibition at Appel Design Gallery, Berlin. (Thanks for the invitation, Ronen!) What’s so special? All the designs are free and open, as in open source, and released under a Creative Commons license (by-nc-sa): Designers and hardware hackers can download the plans for all the pieces, modify them or have them produced for themselves. In Ronen’s words:

The products presented here were designed and produced using an alternative design and development method that frees a designer to pursue creative expressions, realize them as industrially repeatable products and have the ability to globally distribute design. Open Design is a personal attempt to close a creativity gap between product design and other fields (music, graphic design, animation and photography), Which found their creative output in phase with the realities of information technology and economics. The Open Design method is based on the principles of the already successful Open Source method that revolutionized the software industry, and gave birth to a social movement that is cooperative, community-minded and seeks legitimate ways of sharing creativity. In Open Design, the design is a two dimensional “cutout” represented as digital information. It relies on the Internet’s communication resources, to publish, distribute, and copy the designs under a CreativeCommons license. Coupled with The flexibility of CNC production methods, all technically conforming designs are continuously available for production, in any number, with no tooling investment, anywhere and by anyone.

More importantly, though, these are pieces of exceptional beauty. Did you notice that you can’t see any joints? It’s because there simply aren’t any – all these pieces are just stuck together, or folded into themselves. The table and the fruitbowl you see in the pictures below are delivered flat, then folded into shape. How awesome is that?

Open Design Fruitbowl by Ronen Kadushin (photo by peter bihr) Open Design: “Fruitbowl” by Ronen Kadushin

Open Design Italic Shelves by Ronen Kadushin (photo by peter bihr) Open Design: “Italic Shelves” by Ronen Kadushin

Open Design Square Dance Low Table by Ronen Kadushin (photo by peter bihr) Open Design: “Square Dance Low Table” by Ronen Kadushin

“So where’s the business model?”, you might ask. Same as in open source software development. It’s extra services, customization, plus as a rule of thumb: If you want something done well, you ask the guys who made it in the first place. In the case of Ronen Kadushin, there’s also the idea that others can use his designs commercially in a revenue share-like model; if you’re interested, talk to Ronen. Also, at www.movisi.com you can buy designs by Ronen and a couple of like-minded designers.

You can find more pictures on Flickr.

The exhibition Hard Copies – Open Design will be open till November 22 at Appel Design Gallery, Berlin.