Providing a conducive environment to integrate design and production: Assessing the potentials of university-based fablabs (Ub-Fablabs)

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Botleng, Vomaranda; Brunel, Stéphane; Girard, Philippe
Series: ICED
Institution: Université de Bordeaux, France
Section: Design Education
Page(s): 011-020
ISBN: 978-1-904670-97-1
ISSN: 2220-4342


While design plays an important role in economic growth, the unanticipated high output of wastes during a product’s lifecycle puts to question the current practice of design and production. According to Siefried Dais (Tscheiesner & Loffler 2016 Interview), the current design and manufacturing sectors operate in isolation. The design sectors formulate product solutions and design specifications while the manufacturing sectors produce for the customers. This gap needs to be bridged so that, not only will customers be empowered to design and produce, but also responsiveness to resource conservation and sustainability. This paper discusses findings into a potential platform that can integrate design and production- the Digital Fabrication Laboratories. A mixed method of participant observation and online content analysis was carried out on 53 university-based fablabs. Results revealed the following strengths of four criteria: i) digital technological infrastructures – 97%, ii) constructionist pedagogical approach – 84%, iii) collaboration through networking – 58%, iv) sustainability- 41%. This proposes a potential platform for the integration of design and production.

Keywords: University-based fablabs, Sustainability, Ecodesign, Circular economy, Constructionist pedagogical approach

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