It’s an idea empowered by the Internet, however - as opposed to the current trend for new techniques such as 3D printing - the technology used in the workshops is not new. ‘The CNC technology we're tapping into has been around for a long time, around 60 years,' explains Josh. 'It’s well established in the industry - and frankly quite overlooked - and exists in many independent workshops all over the world. We're tapping into an existing infrastructure that's widely available, and at a pretty low cost.’
Opendesk are utilising more traditional methods of construction too. ‘Before screws and nails,’ says Scarlett, ‘people used wedges, pegs and joints as ways of constructing, and we're going back to this. We're trying to remove the reliance on specific, honed craft skills so that we can open up making to more people, distributing manufacture across a network of independents rather than centralising it.’
For the past year, a big part of Opendesk’s focus has been building their network of makers. They now have a community of around 600 worldwide, and Opendesk’s designs have been downloaded in 75% of the world’s countries. But with so many makers across the globe, how do they ensure that everyone’s meeting the highest production standards?
It's all down to the process of how they onboard the makers - communicating Opendesk’s standards to them, and giving the makers a way to demonstrate their understanding of these through a demo piece. 'It's about building up a level of trust with makers', says Josh. 'We need to be clear on how the product should be cut, how it's assembled, how it's finished, how it's delivered.’ Whilst they currently have around 600 makers in the community, Opendesk work regularly with a trusted core of around twenty in the UK and ten or so in the US. Ultimately, the factory of the future will be many micro-factories, with a focus upon local manufacture - pretty similar to the future vision of Unmade.