In this time of COVID19, Distributed Design has quickly become our reality out of necessity. Fab Labs and maker spaces are distributing machines (3D printers, sewing machines among others) in order for people to begin to produce medical equipment in their homes. This has effectively created distributed city-wide labs, connected via local logistics and communications networks.
Companies are also collaborating; opening their processes to rapidly design and innovate health and wellbeing equipment in response to the crisis on a global scale – this has given rise to the need for an international design language that is clear and communicable at distance. Designers are being pushed to explore new materials, upcycle and consider circularity in their process whilst remaining in quarantine.
As we adapt in this time of emergency, we also discover how we as designers and makers can adapt to the possibilities and benefits of Distributed Design – understanding the beneficial effects of knowledge sharing and approaches, material innovation, local supply chains, global collaboration and compassionate, human-centred value.
So how can the Distributed Design community help right now? The upcoming weeks – for those of us who might be able to contribute at the moment – we will share several initiatives that involve makers & designers. It is time for distributed design and digital fabrication to rise to the occasion and take this time to use the power of the distributed way of producing and collaborating to help in this time of crisis.
Open Source to the rescue
As we have witnessed in the past weeks, traditional manufacturing methods are not able to cope with the current situation, so it is imperative that distributed, open-source, digital fabrication methods are now utilised in finding solutions in record time. It has become incredibly relevant to move bits instead of atoms and to design, prototype and manufacture at an accelerated pace as a community – all characteristics of the Distributed Design Manifesto.
Support and ideas against COVID-19
STUDIO Frolic has put out a call to action by offering their supports and gathering insights about what needs are greatest in these unprecedented times. Our friends at Precious Plastic have set up a platform to collaborate on how the plastic recycling community can best help right now. For makers & designers to be able to help efficiently, it is crucial we need access to the right information. Take a look at the message from Neil Gershenfeld, the ‘father of fablabs’ on what to keep in mind whilst choosing your actions:
Share your projects!
We invite you to share with us your Distributed Design projects and ideas supporting the local and global fight against COVID-19. Send your projects and ideas (or those of friends or relatives) to Dymphie Braun: [email protected]. We will publish them and share them widely with our community.
For now, stay safe, stay creative and take care of each other! 🙌