Can furniture design be Open Design?

Words
by Vicente C.

I have spoken directly and exchanged information with over 500 product designers and creators so far, and most of them (99%) reject open design . It’s a matter of money, yes, but not the most important.

The reason for this refusal lies in an even more intrinsic aspect: The design of furniture and decoration does not result in binary options, it works or it does not work.
Furniture design is open to discussion, opinion and assessment . Each one of us will have a totally different and equally valid opinion and assessment, which will make it impossible to carry out quality projects in an open manner.

What is open design?

The open design or free design is the development of products through the use of publicly shared information. Tools such as open source, open source software and open source hardware are used. The process is done through the network without monetary compensation .
The objectives and philosophy are the same as in the open source movement, only applied to the development of physical products.

We refer to open source designs when we talk about designs that can be modified by any user for free, there is no consideration for the creators.

Why has this system worked very well in some industries and not so well in others?

Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linus software

Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linus software

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Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linus software, one of the largest Open Source software communities, explains very well why the Open Source model works in some industries and not so much in others.

I quote textually “I think one of the reasons why open source works well in code is that at the end of the day, the code tends to be something black and white. There is often a pretty good way to decide, this is done correctly and this is not well done.
The code works or not, which means there is less room for discussion. It is very difficult to apply the same principles in some other areas, just because black and white becomes not only grey, but different colours.”

That’s right, in the world of product creation things are not black or white, not even grey, but are full of different colours, shades and nuances . This is what makes, from my point of view, that the development of products is full of opinions and it should be the talent of the designer who guides the development of the product until its final phase.

Pedro Luis Carretero, product designer at Faberin

Pedro Luis Carretero, product designer at Faberin

What can we obtain from the Open Source modality?

Open source models offer a number of advantages for the software industry, how can we take advantage of these advantages in product design?
The communities . Connecting creative communities, with open dialogues and information flows, where knowledge and skills are shared.
It should serve as an inspiration to promote creativity and open up new options and possibilities for the creation, manufacture and marketing of products.
The platforms . The platforms allow these creative communities to connect directly with the consumers for whom we are creating, establishing direct communication flows, where transparency and collaboration is possible in a simple way.
The Technology . Increasingly faster, technological advances help us to reduce ‘Time to market’ and costs.
In addition, new sources of value emerge, improving logistics, productivity, use of resources … And in turn, these tools allow us to obtain data of what is happening and turn that data into information about what consumers need, want, like, and so on.

Richard Stallman, creator of free software, promoted this trend as a reaction to industry and its “software grabbing.

Today, the evolution of technology allows designers to maintain the industrial property of their creations, assuring their royalties and the authenticity of their products. There is the decentralization of the ownership of creations, the decentralization of talent, but in a safe and authentic way.

Finally, I conclude that the decentralization of talent is something fundamental for progress. But, as long as this talent is protected and remunerated, as much as and to the extent of its contribution of value to the consumer. What will protect your industrial property rights and secure your royalties? The blockchain.

Words by Vicente C.

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