Design Museum is collaborating with the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, to deliver a major new exhibition about the sweeping changes in manufacturing that are transforming our world.
New manufacturing techniques will involve the users of products as never before, revolutionising the role of the consumer. How we manufacture, fund, distribute, and buy everything from cars to shoes is progressing fast. The Future is Here shows what that means for all of us.
The boundaries between designer, maker and consumer are disappearing with a growing movement of ‘hacktivists’, who share and download digital designs online in order to customise them for new uses.
In a highly experimental move the museum will house the first ‘Factory’ of its kind where visitors can discover how 3D printing works and witness live production.
The exhibition looks at what exactly drives innovation and how it can lead to increased productivity and economic growth. A visit will reveal how the new industrial revolution has the potential to affect everyone, radically altering our attitudes to the pace of change driven by new technology.
Mass customisation is a central story: from trainer manufacturers offering personalised shoes on a global scale, to 3D printed dolls with features that consumers can design and order online. A carbon loom invented by Lexus to weave car parts such as steering wheels and dashboards from strong carbon fibre is represented, and other exhibits include an open-source approach to architecture, the WikiHouse.
Emerging technologies and platforms such as crowd funding, social networking digital looms, online marketplaces, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotech, networked manufacturing, CNC [computer numerical controlled] routing and open-source micro computing, are all removing the barriers of access to manufacturing. It is the role of designers and the design process to participate in exciting new technologies, so that more people than ever before can take part in the production of our physical world.
The Future is Here presents today’s emerging technologies that will become the growth sectors of tomorrow.
Deyan Sudjic, Director, Design Museum: “200 years ago what happened in Lancashire’s cotton mills and Cornwall’s tin mines changed the world. Now it’s the turn of Silicon Roundabout and the hacktivists.”
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson: “The latest Design Museum exhibition shows how manufacturing and the relationship between designer and customer could change in a very short space of time. Our city’s future prosperity depends on the ability to stay at the forefront of innovation. With the most creative designers based here and a burgeoning technology sector, London is well-placed to maximise the potential of links between design and technology, which will become increasingly important as we compete on the global stage.”
Alex Newson, Curator, Design Museum: “Will changes in traditional manufacturing cause a reversal of the traditional manufacturing powerbases? Small-scale makers and sellers have typically produced the type of objects that factories don’t. But what if small companies, or even individuals, began making objects that were previously only viable, either technologically or economically, through massmanufacture?”
David Bott, Director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board: “The role of the Technology Strategy Board is to sponsor exciting and highvalue business-led innovation in the UK and we’re proud of the fact that over 60% of our R&D investment goes to small and medium sized companies, where so much innovation takes place. We’re delighted to support this exhibition as both a wonderful showcase for innovative, disruptive technologies – many of which are already having a profound effect on our lives – and as a snapshot of some of the businesses we’ve upported on their journey to commercial success.”