vacuum forming workshop

low-cost vacuum forming

making shapes, forms or sculptures in clay and copy them with o.5mm plastic-sheet material


bring small things to be copied

size: 8-16cm

5€ for members
10€ for non-members


3-10  people

no need to register,  just come

if you have questions mail me to:

Upcycle it furniture workshop (AKA make Jay a set of chairs)

It's always a pleasure when Trial and Error come to play in the space and this Saturday was no exception. I love any Saturday where I have a legitimate excuse to climb into a skip (although the girls got to feature in a Neukoln hip hop video when they did their first raid).


The workshop really highlighted for us why we need to build ourselves an army of transport bikes, as Berlin can provide us with any resources we could desire.




Some worked alone, some worked together, we all had a little input in each others work.




I was really surprised by the outcomes, I guess we've all got some inherent physical literacy skills. Most of these can now be seen in my front room, should you ever have the privilege of being invited to dinner.

Full photo set can be viewed on trial and errors facebook group

This isn't an Open Design Manifesto

Open Design Meeting
Image by Fräulein Schiller via Flickr

Recently my good friend (and pioneer of the Open Design movement) Ronen Kardushin, published a Manifesto on Open Design. As Open Design is a dialogue in physical form, always in Beta, always changing - the same should be said of the underlying concepts, hence this response.

I would like to broaden the scope of the Ronen's Manifesto, beyond that of specific machines. As Open Design has at it's core a permission to modify, edit and reiterate, I'm sure Ronen will not object.

Ronen's version can be found here. The initial paragraphs I agree with, however where I stumble is the preconditions.

Open Design method consists of two preconditions:
1. An Open Design is CAD information published online under a Creative Commons license to be down-
loaded, produced, copied and modified.
2. An Open Design product is produced directly from file by CNC machines and without special tooling.
These preconditions infer that all technically conforming open designs and their derivatives are continu-
ously available for production, in any number, with no tooling investment, anywhere and by anyone."

Above everything for me, Open Design is about permission to duplicate, engage with and reiterate designs. Whilst tools enable this, so do processes. Aspects of Open Design practice in the future may also include skillsets, and physical literacy. Open Design is not new, it was here before, we just didn't need a name for it. This isn't yet a manifesto. Just the start of some thoughts. Feel free to discuss, challenge and re-iterate.

Ronen, I thank you for sparking the discussion.

I sent this to Ronin to get some feedback, and this is the response.

Hi Jay,

Yes! let's spark a dialogue!

I read your message three times before I understood what exactly is the difference between our stand on Open Design. I completely agree with what you write; there is this inherent creative energy when the design process is open: reiterations, improvements, unplanned outcomes, collaborations, discoveries. It's a fantastic way to learn by doing and empowers all its participants to create and acquire skills, artistic, technical and social, in a supportive, sharing environment. It also has a political aspect, a clear stand on the way products come into our lives, in contrast to normal consumption, and their authentic relation to their creators and users. But when I speak or write about Open Design, the "design" is like source code, it's the plan, the blueprint, the data itself. Your open design describes a process, mine focuses on the circumstances of information publication and use. The manifesto was written from an industrial designer's point of view and its intended readers are mainly industrial designers as well. It addresses what I perceive as a creative crisis or at least a relevance problem of industrial design (and education) in context of the internet revolution, or a "globally networked information society". Industrial design, as a discipline, never left home. Although it is intensely IT dependent and software based, a designer's creativity is regulated by producers, so when you compare this situation with other information based creative fields, I find it totally unacceptable. This is also why I make a point about CNC production. It allows repeatable production that is easily scalable up to mass production numbers without tooling investment. A product becomes a physical instance of its information, as quickly, cheaply, easily and freely as possible. Still, Open Design can't include all products and fabrication processes, but as an alternative it has many advantages for a designer.

One more thing: Open Design is new. I started my research for my MA on Open Design in 2002, and for three years I was intensely looking for anything that is similar. Nada. There were books and articles that described methods such as Open Source software, Mass customization, User innovation, collaborative development, CNC production etc., but no one has put together OS principals, CNC production  and internet publication. I was inspired by the works of experts such as Eric S. Raymond, Eric Von Hippel, Frank Piller and Design Prof.  Jochen Gross. I think that each one of them has good strong claims, but not the motivation that initially  pushed me to come up with Open Design: To free myself to do what I really love- to design.

Thanks for writing me, we can have more of this ( although I prefer a face to face talk).

I think as a statement of motivation, I love this quote - To free myself to do what I love. I think this is one of the core drivers of the Open Culture. To pursue our joys and our passions, above everything else. This is true freedom.

However the debate still rides, is Open Design a philosophy, a process, or a method of production and distribution? Should we even seek to define it, or does the opportunity lie in the uncertainty of interpretation?

Feel free to add your thoughts here.

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October in Open Design City: Events preview

The Mother of all Events Event was a pleasant surprise with many new and keen faces amongst our regular members. From this we have now created a schedule of events for October and November as well as establishing some regular dates for specific types of event.

Events are mostly free for members, occasionally discounted. To become a member you can sign up here, our Member package also includes the ability to visit Open Design City 4 days per month and use the facilities between 9.00-18.00.

Unless otherwise stated all events will be from 19.00 - 21.00

First of all the regular dates:

Every Monday Night is Open Night (AKA Baustelmontag), on some of these evenings we have also scheduled workshops in the space for members. These will happen in parallel within the space, members can attend these for free, non members will be asked to make a donation.

On the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, Enable Berlin will host their meet up. Tonights event promises to be something special.

Every Thursday is ODC Basic, where members shall give a basic introduction to a new craft.

7 October

ODC Basic: Electronics
19 - 21 h

with Philip Steffan
Facebook Event

11 October

Foam Cutting Workshop
19 - 21h

with Christophe and Alex
3-4 people
20 Euros for non members, 10 Euros for members, places are limited so be punctual to avoid disappointment.

14 October

ODC Basic: Starch plastic
19 - 21h

with Jay
Fee 15 Euros non members, free for members
Facebook Event
Blog post with more information

16 October

Upcylcle it! - Wood workshop
14 - 19 h

with Kulturlabor Trial&Error

Come and convert street wood to furniture, make hybrid chairs from old ones and experiment with vacuum forming plastic.

Facebook Event

18 October

ODC bike club meet up
19 - 21h

21 October

ODC Basic: Screen printing
19 - 21h

ODC citizen Mark Splatter will teach you how to screen print your own designs onto clothes, fabrics and paper.

Free for ODC members.
Non-members: 15 Euro.

Facebook Event
Blog post with more information

22 October TBC

Laser Club - let's build a laser cutter
19 - 22h

with Tristan and Christophe

Our new friend Tristan will give a short technical introduction and then attach his laser module to Christophe's CNC mill. We will try to cut some some materials and talk about what is possible and how it could be used creatively and financially.

Free for ODC members.
Non-members: 5 Euro.

Facebook Event
Blog post with more information

25 October

Vacuum forming Workshop

with Christophe
Members only

27 October

ODC Meets: Graffiti Research Lab – Germany
19 - 21 h

Graffiti Research Labs is an international federation of autonomous cells, aimed at providing open-source modes of digital communication for Graffiti Writers, Artists, and Protest Movements.

In this presentation, Two members of GRL Canada will talk about the lineage, aims, and context of GRL. We will give an overview of GRL applications, show where to download both the applications and source code, and discuss the formation of Graffiti Research Lab – Germany.

Free entrance

Blog post with more information

28 October

ODC Basic: Pattern making
19 - 21h

with Bich Thu

Free for ODC members.
Non-members: 15 Euro.

Blog post with more information

30 October

ODC Workshop: Graffiti Research Lab – Germany
15 - 18 h

Graffiti Research Labs is an international federation of autonomous cells, aimed at providing open-source modes of digital communication for Graffiti Writers, Artists, and Protest Movements.

In this workshop, we will give an overview of L.A.S.E.R. Tag, the original GRL software application made by James Powderly, Evan Roth, Theo Watson, and Zach Lieberman. We will cover download and installation for various operating systems, setup and calibration, notes on outdoor and guerilla projection, as well as an overview of customization of brushes, colours, drawing modes, and interfaces.

Maximum of 20 persons. Free as in beer, though donations accepted from non-ODC members – all proceeds will go to further projects and Open Design City.

Blog post with more information

2 November

Cocooking member dinner
19-late h
(prepared by ODC team)
Members only

4 November

ODC Basic: Sewing
19 - 21 h

with Semi

This workshop will give a basic introduction to sewing and using a sewing machine. During the two hours workshop time each participant has the chance to make a simple sewn item. A selection of different fabrics will be available but you are welcome to bring some yourself if you happen to have some.

Partcipants: 3-6
Language: english/german

15 Euros non members, free for members

11 November

ODC Basic: 3D printing
19 - 21 h

with Philip and Christophe
15 Euros non members, free for members

20 November

"material experiment day"
with Trial and Error Kulturlabor
time/fee TBA

24 November

Presentation: Voice Recognition
with Halle
Members free, non members 5 Euros


Workshop Blaudruck (Cyantypie)
19 - 21 h

with Kirsten and Nadja of Testballon
fee TBA

This list is in Beta, we will have news and more details, pricing shortly. Just a little something to wet your appetites.

Big thanks to everyone who came along, and to Philip Steffan for putting this list together.

Open Design City on Fast Company: Recommended Reading

A couple of months ago we got a visit from a journalist from Fast Company.

We were on fire that day, and personally I found the experience an opportunity to gain a refreshed insight into the passions, motivations and thoughts of the other founders.

Sadly not present were fellow cofounders: Tonia Welter, Philip Steffan, and Axel Stab as it would've been a great to get their insights and thoughts on the process also.

I highly recommend reading the article, it captures elements of the spirit of ODC beautifully.

We were on revolutionary form that day, and I'd love to get the full transcripts from Jude. Interesting aspects worthy of further exploration and documentation include:

"It’s not so much about scientific development, because this work doesn’t require rocket science. It’s more about creating the social interactions that invent new things" - Christoph Fahle on how Open Design City creates a space for innovation

“At the very beginning, she kept repeating: This is impossible. How can I do this? But then we spent 15 minutes together, she saw how it’s actually fun and easy to make, and she and her friends totally enjoyed it. They spent a week cutting like crazy, building a jailhouse out of bricks, inventing a method to join the letters. All that was needed was this little start.” - Christopher Doering on our culture of enabling others to make.

“Industrial culture says: here’s a product with a certain use or value. But products don’t work that way; things can be used in so many ways. You cannot say: this is a lamp; its purpose is to fill a space with light. That’s totally limiting. It’s also a gift from your grandma; it’s a personalizing touch in your living room; it’s landfill; it’s made of materials that cost something." - Christopher Doering on the need for an emotional connection and understanding of what products actually mean to us.

"The best way to get attached to a product or object is to make it yourself.” - Ronen Kardushin on why open design offers an emotional connection.

"We’re sustained right now by this big system that’s more fragile than we might like to believe. Distributing this knowledge [of how to make products] within the community gives us resilience, lets us fend for ourselves better." - Myself on the social and cultural importance of Open Design City.

Finally some notes from the Author Jude Stewart, place Open Design City in the context of an aspect of the Emergent culture.

"It's a movement that has the potential to upend traditional modes of industrial design and manufacturing -- and even change how we consume products."

"It’s an intriguing Mobius-strip vision of the next decade: the detritus of an industrial revolution becomes raw material for medieval-style workshops, a movement made possible by the crowd-sourced Internet, a populace tired of living virtually, and machinery democratized in price by a consumer base eager to buy the new means of production. What’s old is, indeed, new again."

The article touches on many of the questions as to why Open Design City is relevant for business (innovation), community (knowledge, community, enabling resilience), and society (emotional connections, sustainability). Whilst there are a few amendments - (chiefly that we actually have 2 cnc machines rather than the zero cited), I thoroughly recommend it - click here for the full article

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Enable Session VI – Testing business models for new collaborative process

Dear People

We will be running a creative co-working session on a brief from PayPal next Wednesday. The challenge, posted in Jovoto*, is to “Help Paypal communicate in a concise and convincing way what PayPal is and how it can benefit its users”

We want to present and work on the challenge together with you. From this, put together a few breathtaking concepts, which we will translate into a nicely presented proposal, post it in Jovoto and see how the rest of the community and PayPal like it.

As we stated before we think that working collaboratively we can come up with broader, more creative solutions. Now, we want to prototype it and test it on a real case. PayPal offers a money prize – which will be divided amongst all of us if we win! And most important it will be one more reason to continue developing this new way of working. We feel that this is a critical point in our development and we would be delighted if you want to bring your skills in.

If you are intrigued or simply want to participate in this revolution come along next Wednesday the 6th of October at 19:30 to Open Design City. You do not need to prepare anything, you do not need any special skills other than yours. You just need to come and be open to sharing ideas, re-mixing others ideas and collaborating towards a common goal.

* Jovoto is “A global platform to enable creative excellence through mass collaboration”

Enable Berlin

Open Design City in 2-4 Words: Discuss

It started as a thread from Christopher Doering - a couple of suggestions a prompt:


I was wondering what "ODC" is all about. And how to describe it in two or three words. Clear, unmistakeable and unique. It order to communicate to the outside and the inside world. Something like a brand name and a tagline.

Proposals include:

Open Design City - Creative Workshop
Open Design City - a space to create and share
ODC - Produktionswerkstatt
ODC- Make something happen


What else can we come up with?

Please make suggestions and send it back to me!"

I tentatively offered:
Open Community Space
Open Source Community Space
Open Maker Space
Community Maker Space

Then Christophe Valliant drops in:

Open Design City - merging minds
Open Design City - tangible learning
Open Design City - sharing knowledge
Open Design City - meet your peer
Open Design City - experience diversity
Open Design City - shaping future
Open Design City - Makerzone
Open Design City - Make your Goods
Open Design City - share your vision
Open Design City - experimental zone for physical literacy
Open Design City - space for collaborative knowledge production
Open Design City - leave your computers
Open Design City - peer-to-peer workshop
Open Design City - Join the Berlin Maker Community
Open Design City - the world is physical!
Open Design City - physical thinking
Open Design City - thinking with hands
Open Design City - tangible inspiration
Open Design City - communicate by working with your hands
Open Design City - manufacturing ideas

How would you define Open Design City?

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Video: Full Printed

This animated short shows you why you need a Fab Lab in your neighbourhood.


Enable Sessions -Autum Season-

Dear people.

With the autumn we would like to start again our sessions to continue harnessing the collective mind and fostering creativity towards the solution of challenges.

Continue reading →

Coworking Week 2010: what is hapenning in betahaus| berlin from the 13th to 18th of September?

As part of the international coworking-community the Betahaus Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne prepared for the week of 13th to 18th of September various panels, workshops and other events about the “The Future of Work".
Coworking spaces are a new organisational form for creative workers that no longer enjoy the option of being alone in their home office but rather prefer to choose a collaborative and more professional way to develop their own projects. They find access to professional networks, technical support and appropriate working infrastructure. Over the last two years this new way of working has strongly evolved. The betahaus berlin is one of the largest coworking spaces in Germany.

The aim of the coworking week is to make people understand what coworking is about. We know that this concept is merely impossible to understand for amateurs, so coworking spaces  from Stuttgart to Hamburg and from Berlin to Leipzig will open their doors for visitors, speakers, lateral thinker, change-over coworker and corporate slaves. Here is an overview of the events in betahaus berlin- Cafe and the Open Desingn City:

ODC: Shared Library Workshop: Monday, 13.09.2010, 19h- 23h: Camille, our philosopher in residence in the Open Design City would like to install "Shared Library" in betahaus. We need the space, a shelf and books you bring along.

ODC: Design Thinking Workshop, Tuesday, 14.09.2010, 18h-20h:‘Inventedhere’ is giving a Design Thinking Workshop where you can find out within multidisciplinary teams: "How you can make low-cost
office- furniture for your coworking space?" Go through the design thinking process in a flexible and inspiring environment and develop your own low-cost coworking furniture.

CAFE: Founder Institute Launch Event, Wednsday 15.09.2010, 18h-21h:Adeo Ressi, serial entrepreneur and founder of the Institute Founder, the world's largest training program for entrepreneurs, describes his experiences and offers insights into the institutions and the issue of start-up success. The event is open to all entrepreneurs, companies and institutions interested in the Founder Institute.

ODC: “creative spaces – new forms of communes?”, Wednsday 15.09.2010, 19h-22h30: we like to invite everybody who dreams or creates physical spaces for exchange, inspiration, living and/or working together, that is different to traditional offices and hotels.
In a cosy round of ~20 selected people, every participant presents his/her vision or already existing space with the help of 3 small physical objects in 3 minutes.
Afterwards there will be time for networking, exchange of experiences and challenges and hopefully ideas to solve them.
This event will also serve as kick-off for a bigger activity to this topic in November.

CAFE: Open betabreakfast: Thursday, 16.09.2010, 9h30 – 12h:During the coworkingweek our weekly betabreakfast will be big size! We invite all  coworking spaces in Berlin to start their day with interesting talks in our café. If the weather is good we will do a bicycle tour to all Coworking Spaces in Berlin.

CAFE: talk to me about: “why every creative city needs a fablab” - Thursday, 16.9.2010, 19 – 21 Uhr: betahaus as an incubator for creative industries and technical innovation would like to dig deeper into this topic and invites decision makers and actors from Lisbon, and Berlin to debate on why every creative city needs FabLabs-not only Utrecht and Amsterdam- because the ‘if’ is not a question anymore. Come and raise your voice!

CAFE&ODC: Uncasual Friday: Friday, 17.9.2010, 9 – 18 Uhr:A headline is worth a thousand words. Yes, we will also sometimes feel like all these people who every day are "properly" to work. On Friday, we invite you to show off in your best suit and look like areal business man. Oh, and don’t forget the Nokia headset from the 90ies and your sunglasses.

CAFE&ODC: Open Design City Market: Saturday, 18.9.2010, 14 – 18 Uhr:Come to Open Design City/ betahaus and buy or make your own handmade goods. Our stall holders will be offering great handmade goods, made with love in Berlin and in Open Design City. Workshops will take place throughout the day, giving you the opportunity to create your own products, learn new skills and above all enjoy yourselves. This is:  “Hands on Coworking”.

CAFE: Closing Party: Saturday, 18.9.2010, 23.00 – oen end:We will have a farewell party together with the BerlinJournalistSchool- They were planning a rather small and cozy party- but the coworking week changed their plans: so, but bring your friends along an make it crowded and noisy!

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Visit us

ODC is open Monday–Friday from
10–19h (betahaus rates apply)

Free and open DIY nights:
Every Monday from 19h.

Prinzessinnenstraße 19-20
10969 Berlin