Open Community Maker Space


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.

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Betabook Project

A form of publication adequate to its topic: the Open Design City as a perfect example of this new social, economical and political behavior: the co-working.

I propose to start the project of an open book, a book in process which will grow progressively by the gathering of different materials. First on line, then through regular micro “objectations” : a publication not under the form of a booklet or magazine but under the form of objects, able to awake curiosity of people towards the Betabook on line, the future  Betabook offline and the different “rendez-vous” it will impulse in ODC.

I start it with the tool, the machine I put in ODC since one week: the philosophical approach and its production of concepts but I AM CALLING FOR PARTICIPATION other knowledge, other approaches and modalities of expression needed in such a betabook process.

If you want to join it by a work of photographer, video maker, spontaneous interviewer or of analyst also interested in these problematic that you can observe in the world: please contact me:

Read here the 1stODCphilosophicaltext

one week later

Talk to me about: “why every creative city needs a fablab” – Thursday, 16.9.2010, 19 – 21 Uhr:

Why should every creative city need a fab lab? Hell I’d say why should every city, town and community should have an Open Design City.

But that’s the object of this discussion, so feel free to come along and participate in the dialogue.

This discussion makes the case for Fab Labs everywhere, and hopefully we’ll also receive some challenges for a healthy and flourishing dialogue. We’ve invited key decision makers and activists from Berlin and Lisbon to address the topic of “why every creative city needs a fab lab”. I wish I were there.


Tiago Cid, advisor of the city councilor Graca Fonseca, working on the first FabLab in Lisbon
Leo Xavier, founder of the first coworking space in Lisbon, Liberdade 229

Christopher Doering, co-founder of the OpenDesignCity
Katrin Tobies, advisor Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Women’s Issues
Martina Zeyen, Network Manager, Create Berlin
Marco Riedel, planning to open a FabLab in Berlin

Start time: Thursday 16th September, 19.00

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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!

On Open Design

When we first launched Open Design City in May, I set out to explain Open Design, but not to define (as our understanding of such a concept should likewise be open):

“Open Design is design for the commons. Products that people are free to make, adapt, modify and build upon. The barriers to entry and access should be minimal. Open design products by their nature should be delivered in beta, perceived not as complete but continuously evolving, in dialogue with the user and the world.”

I did not however seek to elaborate as to why Open Design is important. This I shall attempt to do below.

The most important aspect of Open Design for me is Access. Call me an idealist, but i’m of the opinion that no individual or business should have the right to prevent any human being from accessing the means to sustain their existence. AKA their right to keep on living. This restriction is a byproduct of the existing intellectual property system as well as the economic system it protects.

Open Design grants people the right to Access the technologies that can help them to sustain themselves. It removes a reliance on a service provider, instead focusing on the redistribution of knowledge, skills and processes, empowering people to meet their own needs cheaply and effectively. Such behavior, I feel is critical not just from the perspective of survival, but also critical to an individual’s sense of power and ownership. To take responsibility for improving ones own environment. In countries worst struck by tragedy, poverty, famine and plague, adding reliance on a benevolent outside body does not help develop a psychology of survival (an issue explored in considerable detail by Tori Hogan).

But Open Design also holds tremendous value for societies less concerned with daily survival (who should maybe be more concerned with such matters). Below I have listed some of these aspects (elaborating only where I feel it is necessary) , which will have differing appeals for different social groups:

Emotional connection – building your own product connects you to the process and generates an emotional relationship to objects, countering a disposable attitude to the material world.
Empowerment – The ability to shape the world around you is an empowering attitude, the permission inherent in Open Design allows you to directly engage with the production of your product and understand the implications of it’s manufacture.
Accelerated Innovation – Many minds make light work
Autonomous Collaboration – Open Design creates the opportunity to collaborate without concensus, we don’t have to agree on the best path or course, but can instead be driven by our own egos and passions. By sharing the outcomes we are able to learn and derive benefits from each others action and learning without limitation.
Community Resilience – We have passed peak oil, yet at present our society is reliant on centralised provision of resources, Open Design is only one aspect of a distributed resiliant culture, yet one which can assist with the infrastructural and technological components of “lifeboat communities”.

Open Design is not a new concept. In reality it’s closed design that is new, with Intellectual Property only becoming a part of our culture over the last 200 years. However the myth of the designer is something strong in our psyche (especially in religious thinkers). Open Design is more akin to an evolutionary model of creation, the designer a catalyst, a spark of lightning or environmental influence.

Open Design as a concept, expands out in front of me, and there is more that I have yet to go into, to explore and describe. I encourage you to do likewise (shortly I will post a request and article from our philosopher in residence Camille to further provoke you). But my brief experience with developing a continuous Open Space – Open Design City, and the practice of Open Design we have been adopting, convinces me that Open Design represents a profound opportunity to empower people to take ownership of the world, and responsibility for improving it themselves.

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Happy Birthday Chris

Chris I pay you homage. You rock sir. Without you Open Design City wouldn’t be the success it is. Every adventure, expedition, debate, dialogue, action and even “work” over the last year with you has been a genuine pleasure.

Long may it continue.

Thanks to Christoph and Alex for helping me with the Birthday Card of which this is the virtual part, and everyone at ODC who indulged me in the hopefully amusing rather than disturbing tribute below.

Much love