Energy Bike - Prototype 1

With our new group "Minimal Footprint Hedonists" we experiment with sustainable and fun ways to produce energy.

Here you can see our 1st rough & dirty prototype of an "Energy Bike". It´s build out of recycled/ upcycled material completely.

Here´s a short video:

More to come...


Enable Berlin Session VI: Our prototyping results

Here is the video from our last session on Wednesday 6th of October

The concepts proposed at the session was one of the winners at the PayPal brief posted at Jovoto.
This is not just great news because it proves that we are working in the right direction, but is a first step in making our process suistanable.

We would like to thanks everybody that came to the session: Sam Muirhead, Adriana Uribe Spinel, Rica Amaral, Jay Cousins, Christophe Vaillant, PZuazua, Florian Hauk, and Alexander. And specially Open Design City for being the place to spark this creativity and new ways of working.

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This isn't an Open Design Manifesto

Open Design Meeting
Image by Fräulein Schiller via Flickr

Recently my good friend (and pioneer of the Open Design movement) Ronen Kardushin, published a Manifesto on Open Design. As Open Design is a dialogue in physical form, always in Beta, always changing - the same should be said of the underlying concepts, hence this response.

I would like to broaden the scope of the Ronen's Manifesto, beyond that of specific machines. As Open Design has at it's core a permission to modify, edit and reiterate, I'm sure Ronen will not object.

Ronen's version can be found here. The initial paragraphs I agree with, however where I stumble is the preconditions.

Open Design method consists of two preconditions:
1. An Open Design is CAD information published online under a Creative Commons license to be down-
loaded, produced, copied and modified.
2. An Open Design product is produced directly from file by CNC machines and without special tooling.
These preconditions infer that all technically conforming open designs and their derivatives are continu-
ously available for production, in any number, with no tooling investment, anywhere and by anyone."

Above everything for me, Open Design is about permission to duplicate, engage with and reiterate designs. Whilst tools enable this, so do processes. Aspects of Open Design practice in the future may also include skillsets, and physical literacy. Open Design is not new, it was here before, we just didn't need a name for it. This isn't yet a manifesto. Just the start of some thoughts. Feel free to discuss, challenge and re-iterate.

Ronen, I thank you for sparking the discussion.

I sent this to Ronin to get some feedback, and this is the response.

Hi Jay,

Yes! let's spark a dialogue!

I read your message three times before I understood what exactly is the difference between our stand on Open Design. I completely agree with what you write; there is this inherent creative energy when the design process is open: reiterations, improvements, unplanned outcomes, collaborations, discoveries. It's a fantastic way to learn by doing and empowers all its participants to create and acquire skills, artistic, technical and social, in a supportive, sharing environment. It also has a political aspect, a clear stand on the way products come into our lives, in contrast to normal consumption, and their authentic relation to their creators and users. But when I speak or write about Open Design, the "design" is like source code, it's the plan, the blueprint, the data itself. Your open design describes a process, mine focuses on the circumstances of information publication and use. The manifesto was written from an industrial designer's point of view and its intended readers are mainly industrial designers as well. It addresses what I perceive as a creative crisis or at least a relevance problem of industrial design (and education) in context of the internet revolution, or a "globally networked information society". Industrial design, as a discipline, never left home. Although it is intensely IT dependent and software based, a designer's creativity is regulated by producers, so when you compare this situation with other information based creative fields, I find it totally unacceptable. This is also why I make a point about CNC production. It allows repeatable production that is easily scalable up to mass production numbers without tooling investment. A product becomes a physical instance of its information, as quickly, cheaply, easily and freely as possible. Still, Open Design can't include all products and fabrication processes, but as an alternative it has many advantages for a designer.

One more thing: Open Design is new. I started my research for my MA on Open Design in 2002, and for three years I was intensely looking for anything that is similar. Nada. There were books and articles that described methods such as Open Source software, Mass customization, User innovation, collaborative development, CNC production etc., but no one has put together OS principals, CNC production  and internet publication. I was inspired by the works of experts such as Eric S. Raymond, Eric Von Hippel, Frank Piller and Design Prof.  Jochen Gross. I think that each one of them has good strong claims, but not the motivation that initially  pushed me to come up with Open Design: To free myself to do what I really love- to design.

Thanks for writing me, we can have more of this ( although I prefer a face to face talk).

I think as a statement of motivation, I love this quote - To free myself to do what I love. I think this is one of the core drivers of the Open Culture. To pursue our joys and our passions, above everything else. This is true freedom.

However the debate still rides, is Open Design a philosophy, a process, or a method of production and distribution? Should we even seek to define it, or does the opportunity lie in the uncertainty of interpretation?

Feel free to add your thoughts here.

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October in Open Design City: Events preview

The Mother of all Events Event was a pleasant surprise with many new and keen faces amongst our regular members. From this we have now created a schedule of events for October and November as well as establishing some regular dates for specific types of event.

Events are mostly free for members, occasionally discounted. To become a member you can sign up here, our Member package also includes the ability to visit Open Design City 4 days per month and use the facilities between 9.00-18.00.

Unless otherwise stated all events will be from 19.00 - 21.00

First of all the regular dates:

Every Monday Night is Open Night (AKA Baustelmontag), on some of these evenings we have also scheduled workshops in the space for members. These will happen in parallel within the space, members can attend these for free, non members will be asked to make a donation.

On the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, Enable Berlin will host their meet up. Tonights event promises to be something special.

Every Thursday is ODC Basic, where members shall give a basic introduction to a new craft.

7 October

ODC Basic: Electronics
19 - 21 h

with Philip Steffan
Facebook Event

11 October

Foam Cutting Workshop
19 - 21h

with Christophe and Alex
3-4 people
20 Euros for non members, 10 Euros for members, places are limited so be punctual to avoid disappointment.

14 October

ODC Basic: Starch plastic
19 - 21h

with Jay
Fee 15 Euros non members, free for members
Facebook Event
Blog post with more information

16 October

Upcylcle it! - Wood workshop
14 - 19 h

with Kulturlabor Trial&Error

Come and convert street wood to furniture, make hybrid chairs from old ones and experiment with vacuum forming plastic.

Facebook Event

18 October

ODC bike club meet up
19 - 21h

21 October

ODC Basic: Screen printing
19 - 21h

ODC citizen Mark Splatter will teach you how to screen print your own designs onto clothes, fabrics and paper.

Free for ODC members.
Non-members: 15 Euro.

Facebook Event
Blog post with more information

22 October TBC

Laser Club - let's build a laser cutter
19 - 22h

with Tristan and Christophe

Our new friend Tristan will give a short technical introduction and then attach his laser module to Christophe's CNC mill. We will try to cut some some materials and talk about what is possible and how it could be used creatively and financially.

Free for ODC members.
Non-members: 5 Euro.

Facebook Event
Blog post with more information

25 October

Vacuum forming Workshop

with Christophe
Members only

27 October

ODC Meets: Graffiti Research Lab – Germany
19 - 21 h

Graffiti Research Labs is an international federation of autonomous cells, aimed at providing open-source modes of digital communication for Graffiti Writers, Artists, and Protest Movements.

In this presentation, Two members of GRL Canada will talk about the lineage, aims, and context of GRL. We will give an overview of GRL applications, show where to download both the applications and source code, and discuss the formation of Graffiti Research Lab – Germany.

Free entrance

Blog post with more information

28 October

ODC Basic: Pattern making
19 - 21h

with Bich Thu

Free for ODC members.
Non-members: 15 Euro.

Blog post with more information

30 October

ODC Workshop: Graffiti Research Lab – Germany
15 - 18 h

Graffiti Research Labs is an international federation of autonomous cells, aimed at providing open-source modes of digital communication for Graffiti Writers, Artists, and Protest Movements.

In this workshop, we will give an overview of L.A.S.E.R. Tag, the original GRL software application made by James Powderly, Evan Roth, Theo Watson, and Zach Lieberman. We will cover download and installation for various operating systems, setup and calibration, notes on outdoor and guerilla projection, as well as an overview of customization of brushes, colours, drawing modes, and interfaces.

Maximum of 20 persons. Free as in beer, though donations accepted from non-ODC members – all proceeds will go to further projects and Open Design City.

Blog post with more information

2 November

Cocooking member dinner
19-late h
(prepared by ODC team)
Members only

4 November

ODC Basic: Sewing
19 - 21 h

with Semi

This workshop will give a basic introduction to sewing and using a sewing machine. During the two hours workshop time each participant has the chance to make a simple sewn item. A selection of different fabrics will be available but you are welcome to bring some yourself if you happen to have some.

Partcipants: 3-6
Language: english/german

15 Euros non members, free for members

11 November

ODC Basic: 3D printing
19 - 21 h

with Philip and Christophe
15 Euros non members, free for members

20 November

"material experiment day"
with Trial and Error Kulturlabor
time/fee TBA

24 November

Presentation: Voice Recognition
with Halle
Members free, non members 5 Euros


Workshop Blaudruck (Cyantypie)
19 - 21 h

with Kirsten and Nadja of Testballon
fee TBA

This list is in Beta, we will have news and more details, pricing shortly. Just a little something to wet your appetites.

Big thanks to everyone who came along, and to Philip Steffan for putting this list together.

Enable Session VI – Testing business models for new collaborative process

Dear People

We will be running a creative co-working session on a brief from PayPal next Wednesday. The challenge, posted in Jovoto*, is to “Help Paypal communicate in a concise and convincing way what PayPal is and how it can benefit its users”

We want to present and work on the challenge together with you. From this, put together a few breathtaking concepts, which we will translate into a nicely presented proposal, post it in Jovoto and see how the rest of the community and PayPal like it.

As we stated before we think that working collaboratively we can come up with broader, more creative solutions. Now, we want to prototype it and test it on a real case. PayPal offers a money prize – which will be divided amongst all of us if we win! And most important it will be one more reason to continue developing this new way of working. We feel that this is a critical point in our development and we would be delighted if you want to bring your skills in.

If you are intrigued or simply want to participate in this revolution come along next Wednesday the 6th of October at 19:30 to Open Design City. You do not need to prepare anything, you do not need any special skills other than yours. You just need to come and be open to sharing ideas, re-mixing others ideas and collaborating towards a common goal.

* Jovoto is “A global platform to enable creative excellence through mass collaboration”

Enable Berlin

Talk to me about: “why every creative city needs a fablab” – Thursday, 16.9.2010, 19 – 21 Uhr:

Why should every creative city need a fab lab? Hell I'd say why should every city, town and community should have an Open Design City.

But that's the object of this discussion, so feel free to come along and participate in the dialogue.

This discussion makes the case for Fab Labs everywhere, and hopefully we'll also receive some challenges for a healthy and flourishing dialogue. We've invited key decision makers and activists from Berlin and Lisbon to address the topic of "why every creative city needs a fab lab". I wish I were there.


Tiago Cid, advisor of the city councilor Graca Fonseca, working on the first FabLab in Lisbon
Leo Xavier, founder of the first coworking space in Lisbon, Liberdade 229

Christopher Doering, co-founder of the OpenDesignCity
Katrin Tobies, advisor Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Women's Issues
Martina Zeyen, Network Manager, Create Berlin
Marco Riedel, planning to open a FabLab in Berlin

Start time: Thursday 16th September, 19.00

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Thanks to Matt Cottam for the Pic

On Open Design

When we first launched Open Design City in May, I set out to explain Open Design, but not to define (as our understanding of such a concept should likewise be open):

"Open Design is design for the commons. Products that people are free to make, adapt, modify and build upon. The barriers to entry and access should be minimal. Open design products by their nature should be delivered in beta, perceived not as complete but continuously evolving, in dialogue with the user and the world."

I did not however seek to elaborate as to why Open Design is important. This I shall attempt to do below.

The most important aspect of Open Design for me is Access. Call me an idealist, but i'm of the opinion that no individual or business should have the right to prevent any human being from accessing the means to sustain their existence. AKA their right to keep on living. This restriction is a byproduct of the existing intellectual property system as well as the economic system it protects.

Open Design grants people the right to Access the technologies that can help them to sustain themselves. It removes a reliance on a service provider, instead focusing on the redistribution of knowledge, skills and processes, empowering people to meet their own needs cheaply and effectively. Such behavior, I feel is critical not just from the perspective of survival, but also critical to an individual's sense of power and ownership. To take responsibility for improving ones own environment. In countries worst struck by tragedy, poverty, famine and plague, adding reliance on a benevolent outside body does not help develop a psychology of survival (an issue explored in considerable detail by Tori Hogan).

But Open Design also holds tremendous value for societies less concerned with daily survival (who should maybe be more concerned with such matters). Below I have listed some of these aspects (elaborating only where I feel it is necessary) , which will have differing appeals for different social groups:

Emotional connection - building your own product connects you to the process and generates an emotional relationship to objects, countering a disposable attitude to the material world.
Empowerment - The ability to shape the world around you is an empowering attitude, the permission inherent in Open Design allows you to directly engage with the production of your product and understand the implications of it's manufacture.
Accelerated Innovation - Many minds make light work
Autonomous Collaboration - Open Design creates the opportunity to collaborate without concensus, we don't have to agree on the best path or course, but can instead be driven by our own egos and passions. By sharing the outcomes we are able to learn and derive benefits from each others action and learning without limitation.
Community Resilience - We have passed peak oil, yet at present our society is reliant on centralised provision of resources, Open Design is only one aspect of a distributed resiliant culture, yet one which can assist with the infrastructural and technological components of "lifeboat communities".

Open Design is not a new concept. In reality it's closed design that is new, with Intellectual Property only becoming a part of our culture over the last 200 years. However the myth of the designer is something strong in our psyche (especially in religious thinkers). Open Design is more akin to an evolutionary model of creation, the designer a catalyst, a spark of lightning or environmental influence.

Open Design as a concept, expands out in front of me, and there is more that I have yet to go into, to explore and describe. I encourage you to do likewise (shortly I will post a request and article from our philosopher in residence Camille to further provoke you). But my brief experience with developing a continuous Open Space - Open Design City, and the practice of Open Design we have been adopting, convinces me that Open Design represents a profound opportunity to empower people to take ownership of the world, and responsibility for improving it themselves.

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Open Design City "Make Your Own" Market

On Saturday 18th September from 14:00 - 18:00 you can come to Open Design City and Buy or Make your own handmade goods. Our Stall Holders will be offering great handmade goods, made with love in Berlin and in Open Design City. Workshops will take place throughout the day, giving you the opportunity to create your own products, learn new skills and above all enjoy yourselves.

To book a table/ offer a workshop please contact Daniela

Update: So far we have the following happening on Saturday, tell all your freinds and help make Saturday a day to remember.

Splatter Designs

Make your own:
Screen printed products using silkscreen, printing, and cut and paste collage techniques. Experimenting with upcycling of old clothing and other waste to create new fashions.

Choose from Splatter Designs own range of screen printed products using silkscreen, printing, and cut and paste collage techniques.
Cassettes Delight:

Make your own:
Jens has collected a lot of those analogue sound mediums we used to listen to, and is now giving you the opportunity to give them new life by upcycling.

Choose from a range of upcycled lights, made in ODC by Jens' fair hand
Open Design City

Make your own:
Alex and Christophe will show you how to design your own custom styrofoam cut outs on Christophe's amazing self built machine.

Choose from a range of precut signs and desktop symbols for analogue communication

Judith Meijer

Make your own:
Upcycle tobacco pouches out of washing powder bags and badges out of
old receipts and U-Bahn tickets...together with other rubbish.

Choose from Judith's range of existing designs

Trial and Error Kulturlabor and Alice Morey

Make your own/Market:
No idea what these girls are going to do, but I can guarantee it will involve upcycling and fun.

Open Design City part 2.

Make your own:
Cook your own lampshades and bowls, bring an old sweater and turn it into a beautiful product for your home.

Starch plastic lamps and bowls

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P.s. Big thanks to our intern Alex Spiliopoulos for a kick arse sign

Product outputs of the DMY Maker Lab

10June2010-115 by mattcottam.

I'm presently drafting a monster post trying to tell a story of stories about the Epicness of the DMY Maker Lab. The vibe was so intense with maker energy and fun, that at times I nearly cried with joy.

As well as the emergence of the space (see below), there were a number of product outputs which I will attempt to document as best I can. I apologise in advance for the absence of documentation and accreditation, because I do not know the creators of all objects. However I encourage them to come forward and share their files and processes.

Luis project!  by Kabelfresser.

Luis was building a light frame for the starch plastic lampshades, it subsequently evolved into a futuristic helmet that did the talking for him @ Pecha Kucha DMY.

IMG_1743 by querform.

Laser cut rings were proving a popular hit, I hope we can get some photo's of Zelda's name knuckle dusters

little lasercut lamp out of cardboard by Kabelfresser.

Mendel constructed a laser cut frame for starch plastic lighting, but we decided it was beautiful in it's own right.

11June2010-37 by mattcottam.

I was very pleased with the lightness of this lampshade. It's unfinished beta quality indicates maker process, and invites the user to finish it.

11June2010-40 by mattcottam.

Some laser cut bling

11June2010-24 by mattcottam.

I love this laser cut necklace, will try and get the source files from waag (hopefully it will be entered in the (Un) limited design competition, the same applies to the bag below.

11June2010-21 by mattcottam.

more bioplastic objects by Kabelfresser.11June2010-44 by mattcottam.Photo0332 by Kabelfresser.even more bioplastic stuff by Kabelfresser.

There was a lot of starch plastic (FKA bioplastic) iterations, at the event and more we hope to follow.

Big thanks to everybody who helped make this event rock - especially these guy's, DMY, Etsy and Becks

The DMY Maker Lab was a collaborative emergent event, created by everybody that attended. If you were a part of it, please tell your story.

We will be having a public "Decompression" on Tuesday for those interested to hear and share stories and outcomes from the event, plus exploring where next for the Open Design City

Photo credits:, and

DMY Maker Lab - A four day festival of making, 9 -13 June, Templehof


What happens when you take 200 square metres of space and the following?

A laser cutter
Some maker bots
A vinyl cutter
CNC router
Screen printing equipment
A loom

Soldering irons and electronics equipment
Wearable electronics hardwear and conductive thread
Bioplastics manufacturing station
Home made vac forming machine
Sewing machines
Embroidery machines

Ideas, inspiration, people of passion, knowledge of production, design and manufacture.


Whatever you want to bring

We're excited to find out. For 4 days we're going to be running a host of activities. Some will be planned as listed here, others will be spontaneous, shaped by what you have to bring to the party. Shaped by random events, engagement and the people within it.

The ripples of energy from this event, have already created the Open Design City ahead of itself. We're very excited to see what will happen when we actually manifest this epic 4 day festival of Making and Open Design (yes we know 9-13 is 5 days but Wednesday is a late start) in a hanger in Templehof in the middle of an International Design event.

We hope you can join us, for what promises to be a hell of a lot of fun.

A big thanks to everyone responsible for helping this Manifest. Especially DMY,, Becks Betahaus, Waag, Palomar 5, and the tentatively named Berlin Beta Collective (you know who you are).

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ODC is open Monday–Friday from
10–19h (betahaus rates apply)

Free and open DIY nights:
Every Monday from 19h.

Prinzessinnenstraße 19-20
10969 Berlin