© microgiants


“We love the machine but hate the factory”

“We love the machine but hate the factory.” This is the motto of the Vienna Open festival that is taking place in Vienna from October 17 to 31. The event is focused on open forms of collaboration and tools that allow and support collective methods of production. “We want to show that open ways of working make conversations easier and make products better,” said Gerin Trautenberger from the Viennese design company microgiants, which is hosting the festival for open design, shared economies and the third industrial revolution for the second time this year.

3D printers and interactive musical instruments

People can try out 3D printers at the Pop-up Store Neubau on Westbahnstraße in Vienna. Workshops show how people can make a digital fabricator, in this case a RepRap Mendel Max, themselves. People also get to work with the Raspberry Pi. The miniature computer is used in a workshop to build interactive musical instruments, for example.

But the many possibilities of open manufacturing methods are not only demonstrated using 3D printers, Rasperry Pis and the Arduino platform. The Viennese software developer Andrea Mayr-Stalder shows what happens when open source meets embroidering machines. In the Stitchcode project, which combines open software components with the usually highly proprietary world of embroidery machines, visitors can apply embroidery patterns that they develop themselves to articles of clothing.

The Italian studio Superfluo will show how ideas from open design can be combined with traditional hand crafts by building copies of chairs from Wiener Werkstätten out of Euro-pallets. Visitors to the festival can also try out printing techniques like risograph printing, in which ink is applied to paper without chemicals or heat, and the open source tool Egg-Bot, which can be used to paint round or egg-shaped objects.

Open design contest

Together with the Dutch Waag Society, an open design contest is being held under which ideas and open product plans can be submitted, and under which existing concepts can be adapted. “Other people might have ideas for my products that would not occur to me,” Trautenberger said. “This allows objects to evolve.”

But the festival is not just about hands-on experience with new means of production. Business models and strategies for and the potential of open production methods will also be discussed in presentations and workshops. Open hardware is just as much a topic in this as open-source tactics in fashion and the creative use of open data.

Participants will include the Israeli designer Ronen Kadushin, who makes his designs available for free on the Internet under a Creative Commons license, thereby allowing users to manufacture their own versions with digital production methods such as 3D printing, laser cutters and CNC machines. Marleen Sticker from the Waag Society will talk about the first fairly manufactured smartphone in the world, the Fairphone, which is the result of an open design project of the Dutch initiative.

In the Pop-up Store Neubau, which will be open until the end of the year, people can do more than experiment with new means of production. At the corner shop in Vienna’s seventh district, collaboratively produced products from Austrian and international designers can also be viewed and purchased.

“We try to draw a line from the idea and its implementation by means of hardware to the business models,” Trautenberger said. He said that many designers and producers today already work in networked structures. We want to show them concepts like open design and free licenses, he said. Networked technologies and new machines change the work of the designer, said the host of Vienna Open. “We want to bring people to make use of these new possibilities.”

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Patrick Dax


Kommt aus dem Team der “alten” ORF-Futurezone. Beschäftigt sich schwerpunktmäßig mit Innovationen, Start-ups, Urheberrecht, Netzpolitik und Medien. Kinder und Tiere behandelt er gut.

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Patrick Dax