Open Source Furniture
Published by Dwell

Back when the recession still seemed novel and exciting (i.e. before you and all your friends were laid off), there was a moment when people were hoping that designers would respond with novel and exciting creative solutions (then again, there are those those who take issue with such rationalizations). When it comes to innovative contemporary furnishings, Ronen Kadushin came through in spades. Taking inspiration from open-source operating systems and the now familiar republishing method used in blogs thanks to Creative Commons licensing, Kadushin has essentially created open source furniture. Hence the name: Open Design.

Each piece in the Open Design series is composed of simple forms and relatively easy-to-obtain materials. Photos, instructions, and CAD files are available for download from Kadushin's website. Using a computer, the downloaded files, and a CNC machine (or good ol' fashioned saw-cutting) users can fabricate their own pieces of furniture. Even more exciting to us, though, is the potential in open source design. Users can download and alter the existing design or fabricate it using different materials. With the CAD file, it's also easy to scale the pieces to whatever size you need - for instance, maybe your daughter's custom Eames dollhouse could really use a Bird Table.

Playing the part of designer-for-the-people, Kadushin embraces this innate potential for customization inherent in open source furniture. When the files are downloaded, there is an accompanying message that reads "please note that you can use this design as many times you like, change it, send it to others, and express through it any personal point of view and creativity, as long as you follow the Creative Commons license. Open Design suggests a way a designer can design and produce globally in a free creative environment. Your cooperation will be much valued." A lot of designers talk about "design for all," yet very few actually follow through with any constructive ideas. Ronen Kadushin, however, seems to be talking the talk and walking the walk. Innovation loves a depression.

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