As the revolution in robotic manufacturing gains momentum, the need for materials and products with meaning, tactility and even imperfection increases. Big brands recognise the value of fabrication facilities positioned closer to their markets, and small workshops are upgraded with scaled-down specialist equipment that speeds up the design and prototyping process.
This decentralisation of manufacture allows a more democratic engagement with the design process, which is now accessible to those living rurally as well as in cities. A rising awareness of material origins spurs designers to re-evaluate materials that are found to hand, including waste and off-cuts, to remake raw materials.
As at-home digital manufacturing enables the creation of precision products that are optimised and tailored to individuals' needs, conscious design takes on a new aesthetic, which is explored in our themes Industrial Heritage and Harvested Materials.