Making “Making” Critical: How Sustainability is Constituted in Fab Lab Ideology

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Fab Labs, fabrication laboratories, are shared workshops where citizens can access digital fabrication equipment to design and make their own objects. They are proliferating rapidly and represent an alternative to mass production and consumption, an ideology whose environmental and social benefits their “makers” like to espouse. A longitudinal ethnographic study in a Fab Lab in a European design school examined the Lab’s ideology building, how ideals were enacted and where compromises were visible. Environmental issues were intertwined with other ideological concerns, but they were rarely promoted in their own right. Engagement with sustainability-oriented makers and stakeholders is recommended.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-394
Number of pages20
JournalThe Design Journal
Issue number3
Early online date12 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • fab lab, digital fabrication, open design, distributed production, SUSTAINABILITY

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