Global Distributed Design Awards and Summer School!


We are happy to announce the selection criteria for the first edition of the Distributed Design Awards and  Global Summer School (GSS) at Fab City Summit Paris 2018

Design and the designer’s role are evolving and adapting to a new digitized world. We see the rise of a new kind of designer that challenges how goods are produced and how customers relate to their products. The Maker movement is a loose global movement of individuals who focus on making physical projects but with a digital layer and digital tools, often with collaborative processes and the sharing of the digital files or documentation. Makers often meet and work in globally-networked laboratories such as Fab Labs, Makerspaces and Hackerspaces that provide access to a local and global community of like-minded actors and to several digital fabrication technologies able to manufacture easily and locally digital projects. We call the union of these two trends Distributed Design.

These new designers and makers design, self-produce and take part in the distribution of their products. They work with new technology and digital platforms that allows for global sharing, co-design and distribution. More products are now designed, created and shared  in global platforms and are produced locally with local materials, in small batches and customized to the needs of the consumer.

Distributed Design paves the way for a new entrepreneurial designer who has a new and profound influence on how design is made and how design meets customers as prosumers – focused on good design, smart manufacturing and quality emerging along with a new type of “users” wanting to connect with the products they own.

To promote and stimulate this rather new and game-changing design field we want to announce the selection of winners of the first edition of the Global Distributed Design Awards, who will be participating in the Global Summer School (which will take place at Parc de la Villette – Jean Jaurès 211 Paris, 75019 France on the 2sd to 14th of July). This year programme case study is related to distributed food systems, based on environmental friendly perspective, investigating urban areas as spaces for interaction, work, culture, food production, and energy collection. According to the UN Food and Agriculture, 800 million people worldwide grow vegetables, fruits or raise animals in the cities, producing an astonishing 15% to 20% of the world’s food. Large scale monoculture practices and industrialised food systems such as the meat industry, are responsible of a large amount of carbon emissions and depletion of rich ecosystems, compromising natural environments and balance of the species. Enabling new food production systems is crucial for cities to supply what their inhabitants need, and DDMP wants to empower those creators who are developing and testing new forms of food harvesting, cultivation and distribution.

Each Platform Member will select one maker/designer to be awarded, as part of the Distributed Design Awards, a scholarship to the Distributed Design Summer school within the Global Summer School in Paris. To be eligible for the Distributed Design Award the maker or designer must:

  • be selected in the local activities of the Platform Member following criteria specifically elaborated for this or
  • have already produced and promoted a distributed design project that must reflect on some of the following aspects:
  • DISTRIBUTABLE: the design can travel globally to be manufactured locally;
    • Is the design accessible through digital platforms? Eg. through an online repository or online archive where files can be downloaded.
    • How is the project already distributed in the world? How many times it has been downloaded, made, bought, assembled, forked.
    • What is the distribution strategy? Is it produced in a central factory and shipped to the world?
  • REPRODUCIBLE: the design takes local availability into account and is based on globally available materials and hardware;
    • Does the product allow for customization?
    • What is the strategy for supply chain and manufacture of the product? Is the production of the product close to to its final consumption?
  • VALUABLE: the design creates value for people, companies, and/or society.
    • Are there principles of circular economy in the product?
    • Is it designed or developed by the use of extended intelligent tools?. E.g. Machine Learning or Parametric Design tools.
    • What is the impact expected of the project? Is it trying to solve a specific issue?


GSS is an action developed within the Distributed Design Market Platform, a project funded by Creative Europe Program to implement the global network of Fab Labs and promoting and increasing the link between designers and makers with the European market. The Platform is working from 2017 to 2022 to strengthen an international community of creative people made by hundreds of designers, makers, artists, scientists, engineers, educators, students, and amateurs connected to Fab Labs. It is a community having a great innovation potential that could find real opportunities in many sectors. This is a sector characterized by a growing demand of personal, personalized, and customizable products.

We look forward to an interesting summer programme, interacting and working with the designers. We are sure we will have many fruitful conversations that can help the DDMP succeed.