A New Normal




11am - 6pm daily. Late night Mon 18th (11am - 9pm)

Free Event



How could products be made in a world beyond mass-production? This exhibition looks at projects that are pioneering new ways of making today; not just one-off items for individuals, but establishing a ‘new normal’ where manufacturing is redistributed and mass means ‘by the masses’ not en-masse.

A New Normal is an exhibition which asks the question ‘Who is making products for a world beyond mass-production?’ The participants, many of whom have been incubated by Machines Room, were chosen because they are making the future happen right now: the future where people are engaged in the design and production of their own goods by participating in online customisation and digital manufacture. These are not proposals for a future of manufacturing; each exhibit is a real business and invites the visitor to actively participate in the manufacturing process, such as laser cutting their own jacket, or parametrically designing a table for their home.

A New Normal guides you through this new normal way of life, a portrait of how it is to interact with these products and processes as part of an everyday, lived experience. It speaks from the perspective of the user, bringing the people into these new ways of designing and manufacturing, where mass means by the masses, not en-masse.

Contributors are as follows:

Kobble Furniture produces customisable, contemporary furniture. As a pioneer in parametric furniture design, they integrate customers directly into the manufacture process. Clients input their desired dimensions online, triggering parametric alterations in the design, and outputting files ready for CNC. This minimises material waste and, as products are made locally without exploiting labour or the environment, replaces the current flat-pack culture with a contemporary, affordable, customised and ethically made alternative. https://kobblefurniture.co.uk/

Animaro is a furniture design studio founded in London by Matt Gilbert in 2016. The manufacture and launch of the CNCd Crane Lamp was enabled by the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and Machines Room’s Maker in Residence programme. During LDF the final assembly of lamps will take place on a production line in the exhibition, ready to fulfil Kickstarter pledges. http://www.animarodesign.com/

Disrupt Disability are using parametric design, digital fabrication and distributed manufacture to make customised wheelchairs accessible, affordable and attractive. They have created the first ever modular wheelchair system so wheelwearers can interchange parts and optimise their wheelchair for their body, lifestyle and their environment. They are creating a platform so customers can fit and customise parametric module designs. They are establishing a network of designers and makers, to sell modules on their platform. Born out of a series of hackathons for wheelchair users, designers and makers, Disrupt Disability are making wheelchairs people want to wear. https://www.disruptdisability.org/

Kniterate is a desktop digital knitting machine that brings fashion fabrication into small workshops. It allows designers, artists, illustrators and makers to automatically create custom knitted products and share their work across its platform. Kniterate predicts a world of completely personalised garments which will be embedded in daily life. The machine aims to recover artisanship in fashion manufacturing while bringing modernity to its users. Kniterate was enabled by the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and Machines Room’s Maker in Residence programme. http://www.kniterate.com/

Post Couture is a fashion collective making garments that can be distributed digitally, adapted to different laser cutter specifications, cut locally, and assembled by hand without additional tools, offering an alternative to today’s fashion system. They’re introducing a new era in the production of sustainable and affordable clothing, operating on open-source principles and using 21st century technology. They are the first fashion label that truly embraces the Maker Movement and the Third Industrial Revolution. http://www.postcouture.cc/

Wonderbots is democratising 3D printing by creating an app that allows people to customise their own robots using a simple swipe action. The app plugs directly into the manufacturing platform 3D Hubs where the customer can then easily get their bot 3D printed, ready to play with at home. http://www.rossatkin.com/wp/

Batch.Works is the 3D printing lab in residence at Machines Room, run by Julien Vaissieres and Dylan Bahnan. Their aim is to manufacture things closer to the individual user - the right thing, at the right quantity, at the right price. After trying to make their own products they realised the normal way of getting things made was a little constraining. Small batch seemed to mean expensive and bespoke whilst big batch meant cheap at 10,000+. To make things in the middle of the city at a small scale, the obvious choice was digital tools. They print for and collaborate with others, making 3D printed consumer products part of people's everyday lives. With their 1mm nozzle they try to print faster; with their auto-print technique they print more easily, and with years of printing experience they print better. https://batch.works/

Smile Plastics is a materials design studio making exquisite handcrafted panels from waste materials. Smile transforms a range of different mass manufacturing waste streams, such as yoghurt pots and plastic bottles, into unique decorative panels for the architecture and design market. Their materials have been used in wide ranging applications, from small products to large scale installations in both residential and commercial premises. https://www.smile-plastics.com/

For the exhibition display Machines Room downloaded the Kanban divide from the open desk online platform. The designer Josh Worley released the divide with the creative commons licence allowing Machines Room to share, use, and build upon a work that Josh created. Machines Room has designed a modular display that after the exhibition will be used to mount folding desks ready for the launch of our new incubator, Cohort. https://www.opendesk.cc/

A New Normal is a collaboration between Machines Room and Distributed Everything, a research group at the Royal College of Art.


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