In 2014, Barcelona challenged all cities to produce what they consume by 2054. The call to action has grown into a sustainable cities network focused on the digital transition, localization, and regenerative economy. Next to Amsterdam, Boston, Cambridge, Seoul, Paris, or Mexico City, Hamburg is the only German city with buy-in from the maker’s community and politics. As an innovative and leading trade center, it aims to provide digital and physical infrastructure, which shall be governed as commons.
Learn more about the foundation’s network and especially about Bali, which has become a Fab Island lately: https://fab.city/network-sustainable-cities/
The goal is for 2054 that cities produce (almost) everything they consume.
Members get access to knowledge exchange, network events, research opportunities, and engagement with like-minded cities across the globe. Therefore, the heart of the Fab Lab Network is a globally distributed network of domestic-scale fabrication laboratories founded by researchers at MIT in Boston that provide access to the tools and knowledge to ‘make anything.’
After nearly two successful years, the EU-funded project INTERFACER invites them to share and discuss their visions for transforming Hamburg into a locally productive and globally connected city. We joined for Q1, 2023, to discuss the design challenges for a desirable and sustainable future.
INTERFACER lays the foundation for global connections, the digitization of local production, and the development of a unique maker scene in Hamburg in times of global challenges, such as the environmental and social consequences of the climate crisis, in close collaboration with the FAB City network.
The long-term vision to make cities produce (almost) everything they consume by 2054 paired with Hamburg’s approach to the INTERFACER project, ticked all available boxes for us. So, we rushed after being invited to deliver multi-scale designs for long-term urban transformation. The result:
- A pimped version of the “Circular Screwdriver.”
- The fancy modular “Shift Light.”
- And the “Pop_Shelf“, a piece of future-ready furniture.
During the design of the cordless screwdriver, all circular design principles were observed and numerous implemented. This makes it possible to use the resources of the FabCity of tomorrow for as long as possible, with the positive side effect of a significant reduction in the CO2e footprint. The product architecture has been fundamentally revised to make the functional components of the cordless screwdriver modular and easily exchangeable and upgradeable–both for users and specialists in the refurbishing, remanufacturing, and recycling process. The user experience has been designed so that disassembly and reassembly can be done in a few steps without special tools. By merging individual components into assemblies, this can be carried out safely and error-free, even by non-professionals.
The lamp ticks the boxes for
and circular supplies.
Luminous efficiency is built in by design and is easy to adjust.
Shift-Light is a modular light object with many design and application options. The design is based on the circular principles of modularity, reuse, upgrade & repair, and sufficiency.
Instead of requiring many lights for different areas of application, numerous lighting scenarios can be created with just a few shift lights. The light(s) accompany users throughout the day and can be adapted to suit the room, needs, and mood. As an ambient light, for example, Shift-Light stands on its base so that it can be dimmed as desired by pulling up or pushing down the light head. Hanging on a stand or shelf, it is a reading or floor lamp. Thanks to the integrated cable loop, it can even be staged as a ceiling light – as a single piece or multiple light cluster.
Diversity is also key when it comes to the materials: If desired, the slats can be made from a wide variety of panel materials using a laser cutter or table milling machine. Recycled precious plastic, plywood, acrylic glass, or a wide variety of cardboard are ideal. Due to the parametric of the 3D data, the corresponding material thickness can be easily set via a digital interface. The dimensions of the lamp (diameter and height) as well as the number of slats can be adjusted in the same way, which opens a wide scope for individualization.
Material: Kroma Kraft Display Cardboard
Sustainability: Plastic-free, recyclable, environmentally friendly, disposal as wastepaper, food-safe
Certifications: PEFC, ISEGA, toy standard DIN EN 71-3 compliant
Easy to work with, relatively cheap in comparison to MDF, lightweight.
Since the slats are plugged into each other without gluing, any repairs to individual parts are quick and easy. The style of the lamp and the light output can also be adjusted at any time, for example, by replacing some wooden slats with acrylic glass slats—a completely different play of light is created! New trends and change requests can be integrated without buying a new product.
Manufacturing the Shift Light is possible in most FabLabs. Thanks to the open-source hardware license, anyone can create an individualized and modular lighting system for their home.
This furniture ticks the boxes for
| Reusable parts
| Regenerative sources
and circular supplies.
It can be quickly up- and down-graded in size. Therefore, it grows or shrinks with the user’s demands.
As a pioneer tree species, poplars are vital in transforming conventional agriculture towards more resilient and biodiversity-promoting agroforestry. Looking a few years into the future, we can assume that this transformation process will increase the supply of regional poplar wood. It would not necessarily be in the spirit of sustainability to only make matches and kebab sticks from this wood—a durable everyday product as a carbon store would be preferable.
Poplar wood is not a typical furniture material. But with Pop_Shelf, we have found a way of translating its material advantages into a light, customizable, and unusual shelf design. This indirectly contributes to regenerating the overstressed farmland, promoting biodiversity, and improving the microclimate.
Pop_Shelf can be made with simple machines (saws, drills, routers, etc.), but also with the help of standard CNC milling machines, such as those found in many fab labs and home workshops. The shelf is made entirely of poplar planks of the same width and can be produced with minimal waste.
No metal parts are required to assemble the shelf. All components are held together by cords, which generate the necessary tension through twisting to give the construction stability. The cord is not just a design feature for which many variants are conceivable, from brightly colored nylon rope to subtle hemp rope. The crosswise bracing on the back makes it possible to compensate for uneven floors by tensioning at different levels.
Check out the Assembly Guide.
A unique feature of the design is also the parametric structure of the construction data, which allows users to freely choose the dimensions, as well as the number and spacing of the shelves of our Pop_Shelf.
This is the future of making!
The final event #tfom23, a two-day on-site Conference + Expo, is a unique opportunity for meaningful, in-person connections with other local and global changemakers. Immerse yourself in talks, workshops, exhibitions, or community gatherings to shape “the future of making” now!
The conference is organized as part of the EU-funded INTERFACER project led by consortium partners Helmut Schmidt University, Fab City Hamburg e.V., Hamburger Institut für Wertschöpfungssystematik und Wissensmanagement UG and dyne.org Foundation.
Join us for the final event #tfom23, and exhibition. Or become a maker yourself. Our designs will be available at any FabCity around the world soon.
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