Dean, Lionel Theodore, Atkinson, Paul and Unver, Ertu (2005) FutureFactories : inverting the mass-production paradigm. In: Autonomatic, 28th January 2005, Design Centre at Tremough, Falmouth College of Arts, Cornwall.

FutureFactories is an exploration of flexible design and manufacturing made possible by digitally technologies: principally, but not exclusively, rapid prototyping (RP). The aim is individualised production, the industrial scale manufacture of ‘one-offs’ via an element of computer generated random form. Designs exist in a state of constant metamorphosis morphing within an envelope set by the designer. FutureFactories aims to overcome the split between artistic creativity and machine production; blurring the boundaries between traditional interpretations of ‘Craft’ and ‘Design’ (and even Art). The project began as a design residency at the University of Huddersfield in the summer of 2002, it has now been expanded into a practice-based PhD study.
Computer generated artwork has become commonplace. The creation of three dimensional artifacts from this artwork however imposes considerable limitations and is consequently rare. Advances in digital technologies have made the creation of ‘one-off’ products from computer generated models, a realistic, affordable, possibility.
FutureFactories is very much a practice based study. The target of the residency program was an exhibition featuring a collection of 3D designs. Five design ‘templates’ were created for the exhibition which toured regionally from Autumn 2003 to Spring 2004, before going on to Milan and London. There was constant tension between desired aesthetics and what could be achieved with an embryonic design system. Budgetary considerations resulted in pushing the boundaries of the cheaper 3D printing processes. As the project has gained momentum, support from the RP Industry has allowed the use of more exotic RP methodologies and materials. Models that had hitherto required considerable post-finishing were now ready straight from the machine, proving FutureFactories a viable production concept. Evolution versions of the first collection were exhibited in London Design week, September 2004, and at the time of writing they are on display in New York

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