Federal University of Paraná

Design & Sustainability Research Center

Prof. Aguinaldo dos Santos

João Caccere

The research investigated the use of Digital Fabrication and Open Design to enable a Distributed Economy Scenario. Such applications allow new modes of production and consumption that results on a positive impact on the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability.

The research adopted an Action Research approach divided into four cycles. The result was a pilot implementation of a Product-Service System that offers Open-source residential furniture to low income households, locally manufactured through Digital Fabrication.

The pilot implementation is an attempt to foster among policy makers a better understanding on the possibilities of digital fabrication and open design to promote distributed economy policies.

All the participants contributed on the project without any direct payment, sharing their knowledge and skills for a greater good of the low income families.

The study showed that open-source solutions can benefit from a more close dialogue with indigineous knowledge and vernacular design solutions, enabling improvements that can benefit oher users.

A new strategy to avoid early disposal of furniture on the urban environment: Currently the furniture supply chain typically has a long distance between users and manufacturers. Without the proximity of furniture manufacturers and users the result is furniture that ends up rapidly on landfills, creating a huge environmental problem, particulary on large urban centers.

Envisaging a network of local makers: There is already a growing number of companies in Curitiba that do have infrastructure and competencies on digital fabrication: the project explores an approach to connect them into a network of local makers

Digital fabrication demands a new generation of workers that do not get involved only in production but on the actual design process and on the entire life cycle management of furniture.

The project used various strategies to enable a direct communication with users and other stakeholders, such as system maps, customer journeys and storyboards. Prototypes produced rapidly on digital fabrication showed to be the most effective way to establish a direct dialogue with users, integrating them on the creative process.