The Future is Here : Exhibition Review

I recently visited The Future is Here: A New Industrial Revolution at the Design Museum, which promised to inform me about advancements in the manufacturing of products, 3D printing, the transformation of design processes, and ultimately how all of this may impact my life.


Customisable Adidas parts on display.

Much of the exhibition is concerned with how the boundaries between designer, manufacturer and consumer are becoming increasingly blurred, with consumers now being able to play an active roll in the design of the products they are buying. This can be seen with Adidas‘, customisation service which allows you to tailor the design of your trainers, factoring in not only specific design details but also performance options, as well as the ability to modify the classic airline bag, choosing from a range of colour options but also with the opportunity of adding your own embroidered monogram.


TC 2 Digital Loom designed & developed by Tronrud Engineering.

Another major focus of the exhibition is emergent technology.  One example is the TC-2 digital loom, which is a computer controlled hand loom specifically developed for the designer/artist. It allows for rapid prototyping and customisation of designs, so is seen as the ultimate design tool for weavers as designs that would normally require a jacquard loom can now be created using this technology.


Textile samples produced with the TC 2 digital loom.


There are a range of events attached to the exhibition, many of which focus specifically on 3D printing – a particularly topical subject owing to media reports about the production of 3D firearms and the so-called burgeoning ‘3D-Printed Gun Movement.’ In light of this, I left this exhibition with mixed feelings about the ‘new industrial revolution’ – excited about developments that could revolutionise design and provide me with opportunities to be in control of the design of products that I want and need, but also slightly nervous about the pace of such change. Nonetheless, this is a thought-provoking exhibition that is definitely worth a visit.




The exhibition is on now and runs until 29 October 2013. More details can be found here.

Melissa Donne.