Thanks to parametric design and digital fabrication it is now possible to mass-produce non-standard, highly differentiated products, from shoes and tableware to furniture and even houses. Variety no longer compromises the efficiency and economy of production. Furthermore, parametric definitions of products’ geometry are made accessible via interactive websites to masses, who could then design their own, unique versions of the product. Such “democratization” of design – through mass-customization – raises many interesting questions such as the authorship of design and the functional and esthetic quality of products (shoes, tableware, furniture, houses…) designed by non-designers. Illustrated with numerous examples, this lecture explores social, cultural and design implications of this emerging “design democracy”, starting with its technological origins.
Branko Kolarevic is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Calgary Faculty of Environmental Design, where he also holds the Chair in Integrated Design and co-directs the Laboratory for Integrative Design (LID). He has taught architecture at several universities in North America and Asia and has lectured worldwide on the use of digital technologies in design and production. He has authored, edited or co-edited several books, including “Building Dynamics: Exploring Architecture of Change” (with Vera Parlac), “Manufacturing Material Effects” (with Kevin Klinger), “Performative Architecture” (with Ali Malkawi) and “Architecture in the Digital Age.” He is a past president of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) and Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB). He is a recipient of the ACADIA Award for Innovative Research in 2007 and ACADIA Society Award of Excellence in 2015. He holds doctoral and master's degrees in design from Harvard University and a diploma engineer in architecture degree from the University of Belgrade.