November 9, 2020

Viral Design Book – OUT NOW!

With every crisis there is an opportunity to rethink the status quo. The COVID-19 pandemic has put Distributed Design principles to the test with meaningful outcomes we are happy to share with you.

This is the third in a series of four books developed within the Distributed Design Platform, co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. Distributed Design allows creatives, designers, makers and innovators to participate in the creation of a new model of production and consumption, in which “bits travel globally, while atoms stay locally”.

The title of the book ‘Viral Design’ is based on Enrico Bassi’s article which can be found in the final chapter (pp 194-199). Enrico is Director of FabLab OpenDot, a Platform member organisation.The name was inspired by the rapid mobilisation of designers and makers during the crisis. As the virus spread, designs of personal protective equipment (PPE) were globally distributed, designed and produced. Hence, the title ‘Viral Design’.

The Distributed Design Platform publishes a book annually over four years to explore and disseminate the advances of the platform. In our first book, ‘Fab City: The Mass Distribution of (Almost) Everything’ (2018), we introduced the overarching themes supporting the idea of Distributed Design as a new practice emerging from the digital revolution in fabrication, communications and computation. In our second book, we explored the state of the art in Distributed Design, highlighting projects around the world. In this book, our third edition, the focus is on how designers and makers reacted quickly to the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent knowledge dissemination that emerged for the field of Distributed Design.

This book collects observations and reflections from the Distributed Design Platform and extended community. It aims to give shape to the experiences of designers and makers across Europe and throughout the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This book compiles 27 contributions from 18 countries. Some articles are personal reflections, written by multiple authors, whereas other articles are more academic. This book was written in a distributed manner during the pandemic, embodying the concepts and discussing the societal and sociological practice of Distributed Design. We hope this book questions, inspires and emboldens you. You can dip in and out of the different articles, it is not intended to be followed cohesively.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an unparalleled call to action by the Distributed Design platform, increasing the need to quickly share knowledge and react to an ever changing landscape. The “making approach” to design rapidly became more than just theory, it became action. This real world challenge continues to generate new opportunities, which require new distribution models and new ways of thinking about our supply chains critically. In turn, this breeds new ways of working, thinking and valuing, which are explored in the articles and projects presented in this book. These accounts come from members and associated members of the Distributed Design platform, who gather from cultural organisations, industry and educational institutions to advocate for Distributed Design, and foster the role of European creatives in actively shaping this emerging field.






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