Making things in Fab Labs: a case study on sustainability and co-creation

Journal Article

Digital fabrication laboratories (such as Fab Labs) are a global initiative of workshops that offer open access to technologies to produce objects from beginning idea to final production. Fab Labs encourage open and free knowledge-sharing among ‘experts’ and the general public. Claims are being made about community-based digital fabrication workshops transforming practices of design, innovation, production and consumption, while describing positive impacts on the environment and social goals. Research that examines such claims is sparse. This paper explores realities of using digital fabrication technologies within a Fab Lab. It draws on a case study that describes practical outcomes of a design workshop in which a multidisciplinary team engaged in issues of sustainable design and processes of co-creation to design and fabricate a prototype. This experience provides insight into the impact of digital fabrication technologies within a sustainable and co-creational design context and critical reflections are presented.

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