The basic premise of TechnoCRAFT, a new San Francisco gallery exhibition, is that something's gone wrong in the history of people making things. These days, designers have all the power - and maybe it's time to put users in control.
The show is curated by renowned industrial designer Yves Béhar, whose work you unknowingly recognise from the OLPC and Jawbone headset. The selected works showcase products and methods that put the power of design back in the hands of the people that use them, rather than behind the closed doors of workshops. Good design should breed community and emotional connection. Not disappointment and alienation.
TechnoCRAFT highlights five thematic trends helping empower people as creators instead of consumers: crowdsourcing, a now familiar concept of harvesting collective taste for a common project. "Platforms", the notion that open software can help users personalise an intimate bond with an object. "Blueprints", the concept of selling an idea for an object - rather than the object itself - which lets you enjoy the process of building. "Hacks", which are instances of breaking design rules by modifying an existing product. "Incompletes" encourage the finalisation of an object based on a customer's own preferences. And finally, "modules", through which users assemble an object greater than the sum of its parts.
TechnoCRAFT's argument is that when combined these six concepts are indicative of "Design in the Age of Individuality". And, even putting the fascinating aesthetic and commercial factors aside, the show is simply great to look at. If you're in the San Francisco area between now and October 3, consider checking it out for yourself. [TechnoCRAFT]