Open manufacturing for overcrowded living (OMOL)

Open manufacturing for overcrowded living (OMOL) is a university project in collaboration with Camden Council, London. Families living in Camden social housing are facing overcrowded living situation, and the aim of the project is to alleviate their situation. In order to do that, we visited 6 families who agreed to participate in the project, to observe and analyse their homes, the way they live and the problems they face everyday. With the insides we gathered from these visits, we designed tools for a codesign workshop during which we explored solutions for each family’s particular problem, together with the residents. We used the data we gathered to create personas, which we used as a basis for the scaled service system project.

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During the same time we were working with the other stakeholders of this project, Camden Council’s Equality Task Force, and we researched, visited and mapped fablabs in London as part of the production system. Finally it was decided that the easiest and most affordable way of production will be to have a fablab in Camden. The Council is currently working on creating such space so that the project could be centered in the limits of the community.

After the codesign workshop, we designed and developed several furniture solutions for the most common problems families are facing - storage space and organisation. We then designed a whole range of products as well as a system permitting each resident to identify their specific needs and customise our solutions to their particular space. An online platform is currently in the making, that will allow all the residents of Camden to access the designs, customise the 3d files, and send directly the 2d files of the pieces to the CNC machine in the future Camden fablab, where their furniture will be cut. The system is designed to promote social engagement, so each resident will have to sand and finish their own furniture the way they want it to look like (paint, varnishes, etc).

The design of the range of products has been developed in such a way that allows people without any previous knowledge of design and furniture making to be able to assemble their own furniture. The pieces connect to each other by joints and the only additional pieces needed are wooden dowels and a hammer. Each furniture solution comes with a detailed step-by-step assembly instruction.

After the 2 month long project, part of our study program, was over, Camden Council asked us to continue developing the project. We have already delivered and installed some of the solutions in the residents homes. In March we participated at Tate Exchange in Tate Modern as part of “Incubator One: Are Humans Sustainable?”. In July we are designing, developing and testing the rest of the furniture range and the service platform.

Credits: Research, visits, codesign workshop, fablab mapping: Barbara Guoth, Ying Wang, Elora Pierre, Zoe Kahane, Giorgia Rossi, Liliya Galabova
Design, development, 3D, prototyping and production: Liliya Galabova, Elora Pierre, Zoe Kahane
Service design platform, website, communication, photography and video, social media: Giorgia Rossi, Yin Wang
Special thank you to: Camden Council and Rose La Touche for the opportunity of working in such relevant project about social innovation. Adam Thorpe for the guidance through the whole project. Chris Follows for the opportunity to participate at Tate Exchange as part of such a diverse group of creatives. The whole staff of CSM university for the patience and knowledge they passed to us. Ande Gregson from FabLab/GreenLab London for the insides around fablabs, Assa Ashuach for the 3D modeling for online platform support and to the residents that participated in the project.