What’s new in DYI design and self-production?

At the beginning there was Enzo Mari, with his famous Proposta per un’autoprogettazione / Proposal for self-design (1974), a book (now rare) in which the Maestro used to explain, through simple illustrations and recipes, how to remake projects that he himself designed and also how to personalize  them (for whoever is interested, a remake of the book was published in 2002 and then reprinted in 2010 by Corraini in an Italian+English version: Autoprogettazione?). Since then, the passion for DYI design never stopped fascinating people. Quite the opposite, due to the crisis (and also to the widespread of DYI home decor practices that in the Anglo-Saxon world were always in fashion) it was regenerated. In the last couple of years, numerous publications were focused on this issue. I only mention the few that I have actually read and liked like (in Italian) Design fai-da-te by Recession Design, Rizzoli and E ora si iKRea. 25 progetti per far da sé mobili con oggetti usati di Massimo Acanfora, Ponte alle Grazie, 2011), and (in English) DYI Furniture, a Step by Step Guide di Christopher Stuart, Laurence King Publishing, with truly beautiful furniture proposals).

The newborn Instruction For Use is part of this line of thinking. For the time being there is only a web site (and an exhibition in Cortona, until Sept 30th during the photography showCortona On The Move) but the project, curated by Fenice Vision, wants to be an open source platform through which the user can select projects and self-produce them. The dream, basically, is always that of a direct relationship between the creator and the user and the sustainability that stems from it. The projects of the first collection of Instruction For Use are interesting and their making is illustrated in a very simple and clear manner through videos. The 2h stoolby Giulio Patrizi (see the video) is particularly intriguing because it is made using a very industrial material such as polyurethane foam. The small table Turkana (see the video) by MomiDodi design proposes a western way of realizing an African looking product. And it is intelligent, easy and fast to make the magazine holder Piega (see the video) by Mario Alessiani, made of a PVC rug, a little bit of wood and some rope.

Sure this is all a long way from being an open source platform. What would really be new and interesting in terms of self-production is the creation of an actual business model that could change, in a way that is economically sustainable for all, the diktat that so far have led the design industry. As far as I know, so far, nothing of the sort has been created and deployed. www.instructionforuse.com

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About Laura Traldi

Laura Traldi is an Italian freelance journalist, specialized in design. Her portfolio and bio are available on www.lauratraldi.com
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