TomDixon_IndustryThe economic climate has changed the way designers have thought about delivering products to us. In a fast moving world with a lot of competition its important to engage the market. Its no good just sending your product to a showroom to gather dust and wait for the orders to come in. Designers have been looking at contrasing ways to make their work more accessible. Either using new technology to make the decision process a lot easier or by getting closer to customers; meeting them and inviting them to engage in the production of their work.

One of the main stumbling blocks to buying any home product is the fear of getting it wrong.  After all, its so much easier to send back that hideous jumper that you thought looked fabulous, than it is to dispose of the sofa you special ordered 3 months ago. With this in mind have looked into our buying habits and our fears of a interior faux pas. Their 3D planner allows you to build your room to the exact proportions and light sources and you can pretty much add in your existing furniture. From the huge database of  over 75,000 products you’re bound to find something that’s near as dammit to your current sofa or bed.  Its the kind of technology you’d expect to pay for but its completely free. The idea behind it is to encourage us to be a little more adventurous in our purchases, and to stop us making mistakes whether they be an aesthetic disaster or an issue with the proportions of your items.  You can then click through and purchase your items from a vast range of suppliers and (perhaps the area I like the most) a range of independent designer makers through their boutiqueEstd&Son_Butt

Estd&Son_DipAnother company to embrace the use of 3D technology is Established & Sons. Launched at the Salone Internazionale Del Mobile in Milan this year, they presented their new own label collection Estd through an interactive 3D screen created by Four items were presented in an interactive way (Dip Soft Grid, Plan,Butt)that allowed the viewer to discover them, play, move turn and even throw them via a touch-screen. Although this technology isn’t available online yet, you can just imagine them tinkering away to create an Ipad App for it.TomDixon_FlashFactory


In a bid to get in touch with the consumer and take the work  directly to them Tom Dixon has come up with his Flash Factory . Appearing in many locations over the next year products will be assembled according to the customers need and demand. Its an interesting experiment on the inefficiency of our current means of production and delivery whereby products take months to be shipped across the world to the end user. The Flash Factory kicked off in Milan with members of Toms London team creating the Etch light for customers. The Factory then moved to New York for ICFF where willing volunteers created the products, there payment being other Tom Dixon products. In a quote from the man himself “Flash Factory demonstrates Future Industry and the new found power of the designer, able to service world markets with the latest products in greatly reduced time scales.”  Its an interesting concept and people visiting the Factory do enjoy engaging, and chatting and buying the work. Yes I did buy and Etch light – it was only 30 Euros for a bit of design history!

PietHeinEek_CeramicsPietHeinEek_LightsFriend and contemporary of Tom, Piet Hein Eek is also keen to engage the consumer in the process of production, although his factory is in no way portable! Its real and its huge. The concept is to rennovate an old Phillips factory to create a space where products will be made and sold. Its interactive but in the traditional sense, people can meet, talk, watch, create, shop and eat under one roof. Visitors can wander round without losing site of the workplace and offices; and workspaces will be rented to like minded creatives to create a community of production in a space that was once for mass production. Its a wonderfully idealistic response to an economic crisis and I can’t wait to visit it when it opens in October, in time for Dutch Design week.

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