design mind chatted with Pop!Tech 2011 Social Innovation Fellow and post-industrial designer Dominic Muren who founded The Humblefactory, a design lab in Seattle that develops tools and technologies that helps makers make more exciting things. Muren started Humblefactory when he became very concerned with the consequences of fabrication. His theory is that designers can’t make something fully eco-friendly without redesigning the manufacturing process. (i.e. you can make a briefcase out of bamboo instead of birch plywood, but the environmental challenges of the manufacturing process would be the same). One example he gave of retackling this process is from Eban Bayer who started a company called ecovative design that makes packing material out of mushrooms to replace the use of plastics or Styrofoam. Muren believes that if enough derivatives like that emerge, we’ll see a new type of local, specific, more contextually relevant.
Muren sheds an important light on the designer's place in the manufacturing landscape. He also introduces a new social platform that empowers makers to connect, share resources and ideas on open manufacturing.
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