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Trend Research: FutureCraft Home

The third industrial revolution is here, where digital tools, local workshops and international designers come together to open a new way to buy furniture.

(Joni Steiner, co-founder of Opendesk).

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Gantri (http://www.gantri.com/) is a platform created in California onto which independent designers from all over the world can upload their projects, have them produced using innovative 3D printing technology and sell them globally. The founders are firmly convinced that making good design accessible to a wider public, while also nurturing creativity, can only improve people’s quality of life and their everyday existence.

Gantri – and other similar enterprises – are a good example of the new form artisan workshops are taking on in the third millennium. From a financial point of view, too, the boost the new technologies have given to the rediscovery of craftsmanship and manual processing techniques has signalled the dawn of a new age, the Third Industrial Revolution.

The undisputed protagonists are the makers, the digital craftsmen who, thanks to increasingly sophisticated rapid prototyping tools and 3D printers, are able to follow through the entire production chain, from design to finished article. This revolution means a great deal for the design and furnishing world. First and foremost the fact that the creative process is becoming open and collaborative, enhanced by stimuli and feedback from “non-insiders”, that is to say the people who actually use the furniture and accessories.

This new transparency enables companies and producers to share with other people what goes on “behind the scenes”, i.e. the work and knowledge that go into the finished object and which increasingly involve manual skills, “proprietary” techniques and know-how linked to specific cultures, materials and areas. In an increasingly globalised world, a design movement akin to that of Slow Food is gathering pace, in which great store is set by provenance, Km0 materials and small batch or made to measure production.

This macro-trend breaks down into two micro-trends, Artisanal-tech Furniture and Hyperlocal Design.