The Future is Here

The Design Museum usually uses its exhibitions to champion the role of the designer, but an intriguing upcoming show looks at how the designer’s function is shifting and changing due to sweeping changes in manufacturing.

A 3D printer

Source: Andy Ryan

A 3D printer

The Future is Here: A New Industrial Revolution looks at how new technologies – notably 3D printing – are democratising design and manufacturing processes and reshaping disciplinary boundaries.

Crowd-funding, nanotechnology, biotech and networked manufacturing will all be touched on and there are some intriguing specific examples.

A 3D printed Eiffel Tower
A 3D printed Eiffel Tower

These include 3D printed Makie dolls with features that consumers can design and order online, a carbon loom invented by Lexus to weave car parts, and the genius Wikihouse, by architect 00:/ and others, which allows people to print out a house-building ‘kit’ and construct their own homes.

The exhibition will also house a ‘factory’ of 3D printing, where visitors will be able to witness live production.

Customisable Makies dolls, with fans
Customisable Makies dolls, with fans

Alex Newson, who has curated the show, says it aims to envision what could happen if small-scale makers and sellers could begin to produce the kind of objects that were previously only viable on a mass scale.

As Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic says, ‘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 hactivists.’

Wikihouse being built
Wikihouse being built

The exhibition is being designed by dRMM, with graphics by LucienneRoberts+, and is in collaboration with the Technology Strategy Board.

The Future is Here: A New Industrial Revolution, runs from 24 July-3 November at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1.

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