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Hybrid design: Combining craft and digital practice

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Digital fabrication technologies are transforming disciplines and their practices. It is now the norm for a product designer to undertake almost the entire design process, from creation to fabrication, using digital means. Yet, at the same time, traditional crafts are experiencing a resurgence, and craft outputs are valued in a world filled with cheap mass-produced artefacts. There are now an increasing number of design practitioners and researchers investigating how to merge traditional craft practices, forms and qualities with those of digital fabrication. This shift is leading to a new paradigm of digital craft that is influencing design narratives and practices. This collaborative, cross-disciplinary article, written from within the disciplines of interior design and product design, will provide a case study of one of the author’s product design practice outputs that reflects on the process of designing for both craft and digital fabrication. The resulting designs constitute a new form of hybrid materiality that applies a design model developed by the authors. This design model is called ‘user-completion’ and is situated at the intersection between craft, mass-customization, and mass-manufacture. The user-completion model provides a framework for designers to engage users in the making process by personalizing and completing their products. The case study explores how the user-completion model is contributing to the redefining of craft through the use of digital manufacturing technologies within design disciplines.
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Keywords: additive processes; craft; digital fabrication; narrative; product; user-completion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of New South Wales, Australia 2: University of Tasmania, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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  • The aim of Craft Research is to advocate and promote current and emerging craft research, including research into materials, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetic and style. This may be in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education.

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