DMY Berlin 2015

We’re pleased to announce that we have been selected to participate in Berlins biggest annual design event. We will present the culmination of our years work in Berlin. Collectively, we call these projects “Erfindsam”. They are a collection of furniture, lighting and artifacts. The name is derived from the German word Erfinden; meaning to invent. We have adapted the verb to describe an innate human ability seek out, modify and improve. 

The range takes a slightly unorthodox look at sustainability by inviting the owner to participate in the making process. In doing so, we can deepen understanding of environmentally responsible design. In recent years the furniture industry has increased demand by promoting design trends. Although this has offered access to affordable design options, the environmental impact is significant. Furniture forms a large percentage of landfill waste. The chemicals used to create materials can remain hazardous long after disposal. Global manufacturing makes employee welfare harder to monitor and transportation consumes vast quantities of fuel. By enhancing the experience of ownership, we believe that we can draw attention to sustainable issues in particularly the environmental consequences of buying low cost furnishings with carefully engineered shelf lives. 

Inspired by “Bricolage” (objects re-composed to assume a new whole) each product repurposes commercial left-overs that would otherwise be destined for the landfill. Conversely, each design exploits technologies that were once exclusive to mass production. During the design process we worked with the following constraints (or opportunities): 

The materials used are a “plentiful” bi-product from a manufacturing process. They should require minimal processing, cleaning or finishing in order to serve their new purpose. 

The component parts should be assembled with tools and materials available at the average hardware store. Additional fastenings and supplementary components should be created by local 3D printing, CNC routing or Laser Cutting services.

Each design must provide an elegant response to the materials and methods of assembly used. 

 The Erfindsam range offers the public fairly priced alternatives that use materials and manufacturers closer to home. The designs arrive as a kit of parts. Assembly is simple enough that the owner can build within an hour or modify as a result of the making process. 

The web portal provides access to digital fabrication files and hosts examples of “hacks” by other owners, highlighting materials, goods and services in their own region. For more passive participants, existing owners or “stakeholders” are invited to help determine annual increases in the cost of the product. Stakeholders, vendors and trade show visitors are asked to calculate the “value” of the products. This data is aggregated and the median price sets the value for the coming year. The website therefore serves as a vehicle to gather user data and explain issues pertinent to the design process; from start to finish.
We believe that engaging the public in the design process offers first hand exposure to the action steps common to design. Without an appreciation of systems thinking sustainable design remains an abstract and misunderstood term. 

Erfindsam designs promote transactions between people; a traditional part of buying commodities. These exchanges, when translated into the design of furnishings, advocate for knowledge bases offered by local retail and fabrication companies. 

Using nearby materials supports your local resource recovery initiatives. It is foreseeable that the demand for materials will increase their commercial value in the future. This will incentivize larger companies to initiate more efficient distribution strategies. This will expand the quantities of materials available regionally, and provide consumers with more variety.

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