Fixperts by Daniel Charny
and James Carrigan

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Curator and writer Daniel Charny has teamed up with Sugru's James Carrigan to launch Fixperts, a matchmaking service that introduces inventive designers to people with everyday design problems (+ movies).

Fixperts launches

Above: image from film by Ben Peppiatt

The designers and makers involved in Fixperts have already improved a young girl's wheelchair's control stick using the flexible moulding rubber Sugru (pictured above and below) and come up with a simple device to help a woman with MS to put in her earrings (pictured further down).

Fixperts launches

Above: image from film by Ben Peppiatt

At 100% Design, where the project was launched, Charny told Dezeen that Fixperts is all about the collaboration between users and makers. "The Fixpert arrives, they become the Fixpartners and together they identify something they can improve. The Fixpert then goes away and creates a prototype, comes back, tries it and hopefully it works," he said.

Fixperts launches

Above: image from film by Ben Peppiatt

Each fix is filmed to show the development of the design process, from the moment the Fixpert arrives until the finished intervention, and Charny intends the films to become an online resource for teaching design in universities and schools. "We’re hoping to get to secondary schools, not to teach technology and design but to teach imagination and skills," he said.

Fixperts launches

Above: image from movie by Peter Judson and Rachel Singer

Charny believes Fixperts is part of a new trend towards fixing broken items rather than disposing of them. "This is a way that we can look afresh at sustainability as something we can take part in," he said. "Users who are makers can contribute to resources getting back to the right place."

Fixperts launches

Above: image from movie by Peter Judson and Rachel Singer

"The whole making era that we’re seeing unfolding is to do with how production will change, to do with society’s relationship with each other, it’s do with shared responsibility to resources," he added.

Fixperts launches

Above: image from movie by Peter Judson and Rachel Singer

"People who don’t throw away things, who have the confidence to make something, will be supported by all this technology," he continued. "They will be the new type of customer for all the companies that are interested in mass customisation."

Above: A Fixpert helps Fohrida to fix her wheelchair control stick

Fixperts is currently looking for individuals, groups and design schools to get involved with the project.

Above: A Fixpert comes up with a tool to help Denise put in her earrings

Last year Charny curated the Power of Making exhibition at the V&A museum in London, which looked at how both amateurs and professionals use materials in innovative ways.

Earlier this year, Sugru founder Jane ní Dhulchaointigh told the audience at Dezeen's Designed in Hackney Day how she invented and launched the "space-age rubber" that can customise and fix almost anything – watch the movie we filmed of her talk.

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  • Justin

    I think there are plenty of openings for designers to have meaningful input into the lives of people, able and disabled.

    That said, the joystick on the wheelchair should be replaced completely, perhaps by the NHS, not “hacked” back to what is clearly a less than optimal state (it broke shortly after the first “Fixpert” intervention).

    This smacks of deeply cynical marketing by Sugru. How smug and self-regarding is that guy?