Sitting around the dinner table in Norway once with other guests at Kvitavatn lodge I somehow got my self in an argument about Ikea. I was waxing lyrical about the ease of use and nice designs for a good price that Ikea offers students. My conversation partners were a vicar and his six pre-teenage children. They basically berated me for not saving and spending an arm and a leg on bespoke dressers and cabinets. I was literally cornered between the table and a wall.
My ‘opponents” biggest arguments were the poor conditions for the workers in the Ikea factories and the bad quality of the materials they use there.
Now, years later I can see where they were coming from. I have a bookcase which we had hand made for example and I love it. Now I was happy to find out about Open Desk. It’s a website that facilitates open source furniture made locally. The idea is that you download the design file for the item which you wish to have. You then feed that information into a cutting machine and out come the pieces with which your furniture can be assembled.
If you know how to you can alter the design yourself. If you own one of these machines and you are not afraid to do a bit of woodworking you can build your own furniture from scratch.
The thing is though that I don’t exactly rate myself as a Gepetto on the “can-you-make-your-wood-cuttings-come-to-life” scale of carpentry. I would even go so far as to say that I am scared I might saw off my fingers every time I use any kind of mechanical saw.
But even then this open desk initiative could be a cool option. It opens up a lot of creativity and collaboration just by the idea of sharing and opening up the design and the fact that the work is done locally is also appealing. Maybe it could be done in the local Fab Lab (if they have the tools and the use is creative enough I guess.)
On their website the people behind Open Desk have links to FabHub where you can find out where to get started with other digital fabrication and Project 00:/ which does interesting things that have to do with sustainable living.
And here is a related post from my own blog about my first “experience” with Fab Labs