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Make Much

Make Much was my personal major project, exploring the Maker Culture and behaviours towards handmade. I was looking particularly at ways of democratising making, and considering possibilities for social engagement in creating. I researched current activities and debates within handmade production in order to provide contemporary relevance to my work. My personal commitment to ethical consumerism was one of the main factors in choosing to investigate this subject.

In today’s world, the necessity is not the mother of all invention anymore. Today, we can buy, easily and cheaply, anything we need; and with the same nonchalance, we can also throw away those very same items. Technology development has widened the gulf between the maker and the user to such a degree that people no longer have even the most basic understanding of how products are made. This leads to a limited appreciation for the handmade. In this project I aimed to influence this tendency, as well as engage more people into making, which today, thanks to technology is easier than it ever was.

The research was a 9-month process, the longest I have ever conducted. It was challenging in many ways, and I hope to continue it in the future. On the following pages I provided with few examples of gathered data visualisation.

On the image above you see research methids and how they impacted upon the project development.
The following research methods are listed in chronological order, descending from September 2016. The ones that had most impact on my decisions are explained in more detail on previous pages.
Here I presented the results of one of my research methods, benchmarking of Open Source Design Platforms.
Open Source ideology had a large influence on this project. Openness is a collaborative culture rather than just a licence, the creation is shared and passed around without limits. The Open Source model is a social, political, technological and cultural movement. Originating in programming language, today it has grown into a worldwide sharing trend. The core intention is to create free content with collaboration at the core. It is sharing instructions which can be used repeatedly with no additional cost (Romer, 1989). Information is not tangible and can be distributed around the world.
The Open Source design platforms challenge the idea that the designer’s task is to deliver a product. Applying the Open Innovation principles to design can inspire mass, collective innovation. Dutch architect, John Habraken, wrote in his ‘Structure of the Ordinary’ (1998) that the role of the architect and designer in the future should be initiating the project and participating in it, rather than dictating it. Nicholas Negroponte, a Greek-American architect, said that the designer of the future would be a “creator of open frameworks rather than deterministic forms” (Ratti, 2015). The Open Source design platforms answer those concerns and look for methods for social engagement in making.
This benchmarking examines four Open Source design platforms:
Foldschool – cardboard furniture for children
Opendesk – plywood furniture
Precious Plastic – shredder made to recycle plastic and form everyday objects from it
RepRap – a 3D printer that you can make by yourself.
I researched each of the organisations as well as attempted to make the products they offer. For the purpose of this benchmarking, I marked them 10-1 (10 as the highest) in terms of i. ease of construction, ii. the practicality of the product, iii. accessibility of materials, sustainability and online presence. The ratings are based on my personal experience of making the objects and browsing the suppliers’ websites and social media. At this point, my idea of designing a service started to form (Knopek, 2017).
I proposed 3 hypothetical final outcomes. First of them was the website, that after testing turned out not to work for the target audience that I have chosen. It was a good lesson of prototyping importance. Since the website turned out to be inaccurate, I proposed a branding campaign, that would promote making as a lifestyle, that I hope to work on in my future career. My last outcome was a workshop, and I decided that it should be tested on the final exhibition.
On the image below, Basia, one of the testing participants.


Ola Knopek

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  • Design • Project Management • Research

Project Tags

  • design
  • makers
  • Craft
  • technology
  • Sustainability
  • Consumerism
  • future forecasting

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