"We don't know how to fix things"
- Daniel Charny at Dezeen Live

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Curator and writer Daniel Charny explains why making, hacking and fixing represent the future of design in this interview filmed at the Dezeen Live series of talks at 100% Design.

Charny discusses the return of craft and the renewed interest in repairing broken objects rather than throwing them away. "We just printed the back of this remote control that was about to go to landfill," he says, talking about Fixperts, a high-tech repair service for broken objects. "It took ten minutes and it's back in circulation."

This will become commonplace in future as the "circular economy" evolves, Charny argues, aided by the rise of Fab Labs, domestic 3D printers and open-source attitudes. When an object requires a new part "you will download the data and print it," he says. "You might even improve it. You'll upload the improvement and other people will use it."

Daniel Charny at Dezeen Live

Above: the Power of Making exhibition at the V&A museum

Charny talks about the Power of Making, an exhibition he curated at the V&A in London to raise awareness of craft. "My interest was to remind people that almost all of us can make," he says. "We're in an era when people don't know about the things we use; we don't know how to fix them. Our instinct when something is broken or not working is to go and replace it instead of think how to fix it."

He then shows children in Jalalabad constructing a laser-cut chess set at a Fab Lab - a "fabrication laboratory" where people can access high-tech manufacturing equipment. Charny suggests that Fab Labs could soon become as widespread as libraries: "The future of libraries will be a hub of computers, rather than shelves of books. You're going to be downloading data, printing books on demand, printing objects."

Daniel Charny at Dezeen Live

Above: children constructing a laser-cut chess set at the fab lab in Jalalabad, Afghanistan

Finally, he introduces his Fixperts project, a matchmaking service that introduces inventive designers to people with everyday design problems. "[The designer] tries to understand the behaviour of the person and fix [the problem] with materials that are low cost in an ingenious way," he explains.

Dezeen Live was a series of discussions between Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs and a number of designers and critics that took place as part of the talks programme at design exhibition 100% Design during this year’s London Design Festival.

Daniel Charny at Dezeen Live

Above: a screen grab of the Fixperts website

Each of the four one-hour shows, recorded live in front of an audience, included three interviews plus music from Dezeen Music Project featuring a new act each day. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting all the movies we filmed during the talks.

Movies we’ve already published from the series include talks with IDEO UK design director Tom Hulmearchitect and writer Sam Jacob and designer Katrin Olina.

The music featured in this movie is a track called She Lives Above the Door by Reset Robot. You can listen to more music by Reset Robot on Dezeen Music Project.

See all our stories about Daniel Charny »
See all our stories about Dezeen Live »
See all our stories about London Design Festival 2012 »

  • Kelami

    This is exciting. We’ve forgotten how to fix things because its easier and cheaper to throw things away and get new ones. And its easier and cheaper to throw things away because the economy is built in such a way that it supports this model of mass production and if it breaks it’s basically too bad. So the question is how an economy that returns to fixing things can become more viable than the current status quo?