Makers in Milan

'Between Handicraft and Digicraft'

May 13, 2012 by Irene Vermeulen

No glitzy products by superstar designers this year in Milan, but samples and prototypes giving us insights into the maker process. Handmade and hi tech are combined by designers collaborating with engineers and craftsmen. Craftscurator handpicked the very best examples.

In the article 'From handicraft to digicraft' The Guardian remarked no fundamentally new products were presented Milan, but the very new was to be found in the tension between handmade and industrial. True, designers and makers are rethinking production and distribution systems. Meet the players;

  • Makers and machines Tom Dixon declared the 'digital industrial revolution' has begun. He installed a machine that punched lamps out of metal sheets in the museum of science and technology. Maarten Baas collaborated with Laikingland and created a clock based on hourglass techniques.
  • Inventors and alchemists Joong Han Lee programmed a 3D printer to make a vase, which can only be operated by hand. Making sure every object is unique. Craftscurator already declared design duo Thompson and Gatto to be modern day alchemists last year. They have now created another glow-in-the-dark lamp, made of hand-poured rubber. Also represented by Transnatural: designer Lex Potts geometrical mirrors as seen on homepage.
  • Thinkers and entrepreneurs Few ready-made products were to be found in Milan. Instead, many concepts were presented that explore the future of our consumption. Droog Design launched a collection of real and imaginary business concepts, based on the assumption that raw materials will be heavily taxed in the future. Designer label Humade made a repair kit for used goods.
  • Hackers and consumers Everyone is invited to co-create products in Milan. Luxury department store Rinascente built a hackers lab, attracting crowds with the workshops of Formafantasma and Technology Will Save Us.
  • Brands and do-ers Although all spotlights in Milan were on makers, does not mean the big brands did not show off. Kartell gave insights into the design process by presenting prototypes and samples. Ikea launched a new PS collection, making new and sustainable versions of their all time favorites.

And while Milan did not unveil the new design direction for the years to come, it proved the future is open to those who are willing to rethink production systems: the do-ers.

Are you a do-er?
Are you a buyer, designer or marketeer working for a brand or importer? Are you wondering how to use these maker insights to create new collections that appeal to consumers? Join the Craftscurator Trend Event on Thursday June 14th for an inspiring visual presentation on trends in handmade design, including the bonus trendupdate 'Makers in Milan', giving you practical directions on how to make trends work for your brand. Sign up here.

The Guardian 'From handicraft to digicraft' I Lex PottTom Dixon I Maarten Baas x Laikingland I The Machine x Joong Han Lee I Transnatural x Thompson and Gatto I Droog Design x Humade I Rinascente Hackers Lab I Formafantasma I Technology Will Save Us I Kartell I Ikea I 'Makers in Milaan 2012' for Stylink (Dutch) I 'Do Touch Handmade Design in Milan 2011' I 'Toccare! Handgemaakt Design in Milaan 2011' for Stylink (Dutch)

The Digital Industrial Revolution
Declared by Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
And the Trumpf Machine
Combi 3D Printing and Handmade
Joong Han Lee
Just About Now
Maarten Baas for Laikingland
Thompson and Gatto
Transnatural Lamp
Humade Repair Kit
Presented by Droog Design
Hacked Lab at Rinascente
Picture by The Guardian
Work In Project
Prototypes by Kartell
New PS Products
Metal Maker
Lex Pott for Transnatural