Open Circularity Newsletter

Making Business & Open (Source)


  • February 18, 2020, @LUM am Teich/Mifactori Studio for GIZ
  • February 26, 2020, @LUM am Teich/Mifactori for Circular Rethinking School


[  o°]


welcome to this workshop. We will gain an understanding of Open Source (Hardware) and what it means for us when developing a (sustainable) product and a product strategy/business model for it.

Who am I? My name is Lars Zimmermann. I am a designer, artist and activist running a studio for open circular design, environmental activism and bottom up urbanism called Mifactori. In the past years I founded an co-founded a variety of projects – most of them about Open Source and Circularity (for example the Open Source Circular Economy Days or the Open It Agency). I publish articles about approaches to sustainable pre- & post climate change design and cities in books (for example the business chapter in the book “Building Open Source Hardware” or theory at Mifactori.De) and I teach at universities and sometimes schools.

Ok. Let’s start with the workshop.

1. What is Open Source Hardware?

Here is an introduction to Open Source Hardware. We will use another “Slide-Show” for this.


OK. Now after we have seen the information behind the link above we know: Open hardware is about opening up the information about how physical objects (like machines or furniture) are made in order to enable others to copy, remix and use this work. But this does not really explain to us “why should we do this?” So let’s continue there.

2. Open Source enables a Future Fit, Sustainable, Circular Economy

Open Source is the potential key to a really sustainable circular economy. It might help us to create a strong resilient economy that will help us to deal with the effects of climate change and create a sustainable smart economy on top. Why?

Open Source Circular Economy (VIDEO)

Open Source Circular Economy (Mission Statement at OSCEdays)


Simple & Accessible is Circular

Open Source might not just be about sharing design files. But it is also about designing for the open regarding the components of a product. Let’s have a look at the third sentence of the Open Hardware Definition: 

„Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware.“

Make design open! Use simple, reversible techniques in order to enable others to be circular with your products! More about this on the Mifactori Website: Open Design Now! | Open Design Lamps 2020

(More general information about Circular Design is located here in another talk.)

3. Open Source (Circularity) and Business

But how to make Business with Open Source? This is usually the first question people ask when they learn about Open Source. This highlights that people are not used to Openness (although they use Open Source Software every day). And while most people can tell you why a closed source businesses work you’ll find only a few who also have some ideas or knowledge about open source ones.  We just don’t learn it in school or in the public media. But let’s have a look at it.

The truth is: Almost everything you already know about Business Models can also be applied to Open Source. You just need to gain a better understanding of what Open Source can create  – what kind of ecosystem – and then create the right product for this and adjust your business strategy to that.

Let’s first have a quick look at the advantages to gain with open source and then look into how to map an ecosystem. But just one other important thing upfront:


3.1 Trademarks remain closed

This is essential to understand. In Open Source you share how things are made. But your brand name is protected as always. Everyone can copy and sell your toaster. But they can’t do this using your brand. This helps you to answer a lot of questions that might pop up when you dive deeper into Open Source.

„Accordingly, persons or companies producing items (“products”) under an OSHW license have an obligation to make it clear that such products are not manufactured, sold, warrantied, or otherwise sanctioned by the original designer and also not to make use of any trademarks owned by the original designer.“

From the Open Source Hardware Definition (Introduction Part)

3.2 Advantages

In 2014 I wrote the business model chapter for the book “Building Open Source Hardware”. The center of that article is this “matrix” listing advantages to gain with Open Source at the top and potential income sources at the bottom. Let’s have a look at the advantages first.

(summarize it quickly)

3.3 Ecosystem/Open Platform

But the key is to understand Open Source is what kind of network or ecosystem or if you like to say it like that field of stakeholders you can create with it.

To explain this I created a tool a couple of years back. There is a full MOOC coming with the Tool including 9 Videos and Downloads. You can find all of this here.

In 2018 the Danish Design Center started their REMODEL program. A program to help danish companies into the world of Open Source Hardware. The program created a tool kit of design thinking like tools for these companies and process. These tools are openly available now for everyone to use. And my tool was included into this kit. For this reason we have now a nicely designed version of it available:

I will introduce you to this tool in a minute and we’ll use it in our workshop. But to explain it to you I’d like to introduce you to two examples of successful open source ventures. One hardware and one software.

WordPress (Software)

Arduino (Hardware)

  • Image of an Arduino Uno
  • Stories: Shields, Lilypad, Forums, Quick Open Innovation, Consulting
  • Video with an explanation of Arduino
  • Update: There was a change with Arduino. But not because of the Open Source aspect. Because they didn’t get their trademark stuff right in their team. But for most Open Source projects it is really important to have your trademark under control.

Summary: Here you see two examples where projects are successful also business-wise NOT DESPITE they are Open Source BUT BECAUSE they are Open Source. And that’s how you need to think about this and plan it.

Both products: WordPress and Arduino would be entirely different products (and maybe not as successful) if they were Closed Source. It is part of their DNA to be open. A product needs to be designed to work for Open Source. Open Sourcing it should not be an afterthought, it needs to be already present at the drawing board.

Ok. Then let’s have a look what to think about and plan for when you plan your open product.

Example Use:

 (Explain the tool also with Arduino and WordPress.)

Conclusio/Keep In Mind

Open Source is about enabling a lot of other actors to do things with your product you might not have thought of. You might never see this people or exchange an email with them. But they contribute to your ecosystem or platform and make it grow. They (might) do this with their own business! 

It is the unexpected stories. Try to expect them. And support them where you want to see them happening. But let’ try to find them first.

4. Hands On!

Ok. Let’s start with the practical part of the workshop. Build groups. Figure in your group out what already existing or hypothetical product you want to map out as Open Source. Take some workshop materials and create your own flowchart with the tool.

You have: __ minutes.

We will present it in the big group at: __

5. Thank You & More Info

Thank you for your attention and work.

If you want to learn more about these topics (for example on how to license open source hardware/open design) pls. visit our websites: Mifactori.De | OpenCircularity.Info | LarsZimmermann.De


Here is one more time the link to this page:

[  o°]

If you want to get updates about our work sign up to our:


You can find me and also the Mifactori studio on Twitter as:

twitter/@bricktick and twitter/@mifactori

Mifactori tries also to be active on Instagram sharing open designs and city hacks:


. .^. .


Circular Economy Introduction For Hackers & Activists


  • 36th Chaos Communication Congress, Leipzig, 27. December 2019
  • Extinction Rebellion Berlin, Berlin, January 2019


[  o°]



thanks for the invitation! My name is Lars Zimmermann. I am a designer, artist and activist running a studio for Open Design and activism called Mifactori and have next to this a lot of other projects mostly on Circularity (Circular Design) and Open Source. And I am happy to give you an introduction to Circular Economy and ways you can work with it today.


1. Why? Because 40% of our CO2 emissions come from making stuff

Yes. 40% is just consumption (Source 2, Mirror). It is not food, not housing, not traveling, not construction. It is just stuff. Your smartphones, your pants, your toys, your books and so on.

So here is a lot to gain! This is what Circularity or Circular Economy or Circular Design can help with.


2. Circular Economy (Kreislaufwirtschaft)

Circular Economy is today the most popular rebrand for a set of ideas that is around for a long time and was/is discussed under different names (regenerative design, industrial symbiosis, blue economy, Kreislaufwirtschaft, ecological design and others).

It is mostly about the design of products and services and about including in your design thoughts about the afterlife and environmental impact of your services and products. With this circular economy of course also thinks a lot about the distribution and the consumption patterns. Work with nature and planet and not against it.

Circular Economy | Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Definition | Diagram | Diagramm Mirror 

Cradle to Cradle

Explanation 1 | Explanation 2

Example: Business Models for a Circular Washing Machine | Mirror 1 (PDF) | Mirror 2 (HTML as ZIP)


What we say: Open Source Circular Economy!  + Pre- & Post-Klimawandel-Design 

Open Source Circular Economy Days | Video OSCE | Theory @Mifactori)


3. Circularity = Sustainability?

Is Circularity necessarily about sustainability? No. Sometimes it is even the opposite.

I’ve seen a lot of ideas from the world of Circular Economy that will even increase the consumption and destruction of our planet. Just because in runs in circles does not mean it is sustainable. („You can sell a new washing machine every year because the old one gets recycled.“ … But recycling is a very dirty and resource and energy intense process!)

Cradle to cradles famous spin is that with products like that we can keep consuming as we do today. But they don’t talk about energy! And while in the very very long run this vision might theoretically work out (when all energy is produced green) it might give us for today and tomorrow the wrong ideas!

Sustainability is complex. There are many parameters to think about.

But it is true! The design strategies connected to circularity can help to lower your carbon footprint. So let’s have a look at them.


4. Circular Design Principles

Let’s have a look at some design principles and discuss them briefly:

Make Circularity PosterMirror at the OSCEdays Forum 

More: Circular Design Introduction for Designers (German)


5. Collaboration of Open Source Hardware & Open Design

Why Open Source looks like the potential key to a sustainable, post climate change, circular economy? Let’s have a look:

OSCEdays Mission Statement (with Video)

More: Introduction to Open Source Hardware (German)

Open Hardware/Open Design and Circular Products share a lot of the same ideas, problems and approaches! For example simplicity! More on this you can find at the Mifactori-Website. 

New! Keep your eyes open! There is a DIN SPEC on Open Hardware coming! It will be the first DIN SPEC under a creative commons license (CC-BY-SA) and freely available.


6. DIY Circularity 1: Pre-Use

Circular Economy is frustrating because it says: Wait for the big boys. They have to implement it first, then you can buy it.

But there are simple things you can do. You can live a circular lifestyle already today. There are a lot of interesting approaches to this (the most famous and elaborated one is Zero Waste). And here is another I’d like to show you wich can help you a lot for your activism at Extinction Rebellion. 

Pre-Use Introduction 

Examples: Examples on Flickr | Category | @Home

More: Pre-Use Workshop


7. DIY Circularity 2: Hack Your City Circular!

This might be especially interesting for your activism! Don’t just block. Try more to block with alternative ideas:

City Hacking Introduction & Examples

More? City Hacking Category @Mifactori 


8. Hack In Mo Dul Ar Ity

→ ARTICLE: Don’t invent a new modular system try to use (hack into) an existing one.

More: Talk about Hacking Modularity


→ ARTICLE – M☉odularize ❙t!

Quick Summary: The project proposes a rating system for modular solutions. The rating system includes questions like how common is something, how open, how sustainable to produce, how hackable, how upcycling friendly, how universal and more. The higher the score the better it is for sustainable circularity and the more you can recommend it to designers! And you can increase the rating of a system through hacking!

The project is in the phase of an open funding application right now. But I am happy if you start to work with it and its suggestions right now. Ping me if you like.

The higher a solution is rated the more it can be recommended to be used in your designs.

 DOCUMENT: Criteria to rate modular solutions Version 0.1 .


9. Thank You!

Thank you for your work and attention. More you can find on my and our websites and news sources.

Sign up to our Newsletter.

Visit and share our pages – MifactoriLars ZimmermannOpen Circularity

Follow us on Social Media (we are on a lot of channels for example as @mifactori on instagram or @bricktick on twitter.)

Reach out to me personally:


Link [ o°]


FabCity Hamburg: FabCity-Schule


  • FabCity-Konsortium Hamburg, 8. November 2019


[  o°]



vielen Dank für die Einladung, ich freue mich sehr darüber, denn ich finde die FabCity-Idee sehr schön und sie bietet einen guten Rahmen, um meine eigene Arbeit gut einzusortieren.

Ich bin heute eingeladen hierüber zu sprechen:

  • Aspekt: Nachhaltigkeit durch modulare und digitale Fertigung
  • Aspekt: Konzepte und Erfahrungen für Schulbildung

Und ich will versuchen, das so gut wie möglich zu erfüllen.

Bevor es losgeht noch eine META-BEMERKUNG: Der Vortrag wird immer wieder um die gleichen Ideen kreisen und diese immer wieder neu und leicht anders illustrieren – vor allem mit konkreten Projekten. Im Kern bleibt es gleich aber die Bilder sind immer wieder anders 😉



Im Herzen der FabCity-Ideenwelt steht das From-PIWO-To-DIDO-Modell:

→ → From PIWO to DIDO

(Post durchscrollen, das Bild aufrufen und erklären.) 

Dieses Modell sowie eigentlich die ganze FabCity-Idee ist denkbar geworden mit der Verbreitung von digitalen Produktionstechniken – auch in der Stadt z.B. in FabLabs und Makerspaces. Neil Gershenfeld sagt zwar den Fablab-Technologien eine Moore’s-Law-artige Entwicklung voraus, aber selbst wenn das so eintrifft, wird das, was in FabLabs und Makerspaces mit digitaler Produktion geschieht, wohl nicht reichen, das schöne PIWO-to-DIDO-Modell Wirklichkeit werden zu lassen. Dafür braucht man mehr und andere Ideen und Techniken als Ergänzung zur digitalen Produktion und als Inspiration für diese. Vor allem wenn es um Kreisläufe geht! Und solche habe ich heute überwiegend im Gepäck – zu einem großen Teil direkt aufbereitet für die Arbeit mit Kindern und Jugendlichen! 



Ich beginne das Kreisen um die mitgebrachten Ideen bei unserem Make-It-Circular Poster. Dieses Poster ist gemeinsam mit der Community der Open Source Circular Economy Days erstellt worden. Es begann mit der Beobachtung, dass sich Menschen in FabLabs und Makerspaces praktisch nie für Nachhaltigkeit interessieren. Im Gegenteil! Die Idee: Dieses Poster soll irgendwo in einer Ecke im Makerspace hängen, um ein paar Nachhaltikgeits- und Kreislaufgedanken wenigstens langsam in den Raum zu bringen. Schauen wir uns das Poster mal an:

→ →  OSCEdays-Link: „Make It Circular“ | Mifactori-Backup-Link: „Make It Circular“

(Thesen vollständig durchlesen ohne viel Erklärung erstmal)


Make Nachhaltigkeitsbildung nachhaltig!

Viele der auf dem Poster formulierten Ideen lassen sich prima in die Schulbildung bringen. Aber da liegt einiges im Argen! (・へ・)

→ → Make Nachhaltigkeitsbildung nachhaltig – Ein Manifesto! 

(Den ersten Teil mit der Problemanalyse durchgehen.) 

Nach der Problembeschreibungen folgen Vorschläge zur Verbesserung. Die sind denen zum Poster sehr ähnlich. Darum gehen wir sie hier nicht durch und schauen uns das lieber anhand von konkreten Projekten an.


Der Palast der Projekte

Unser Open-Design-und-Aktivismus-Studio Mifactori hatte letztes Jahr ein schönes Projekt, in dem wir insgesamt 17 verschiedene Workshops zur nachhaltigen Zukunft der Stadt (zur Kreislaufstadt) erfunden haben. Alle Workshops sind in Form von HOW-TOs also Nachmachanleitungen dokumentiert. Und wir schauen uns diese HOW-TOs mal an und diskutieren ein paar unserer Poster-Ideen daran, aber auch andere.

→ → Palast der Projekte 

(Die Workshops durchklicken und ein paar Schlüsselideen nennen und erklären wie beispielsweise „Structural Support for the Biosphere“, „Urban Mining“ und „Campaigning“; bei Modulare Mode Weiyings Studentinnen-Projekt zeigen.


+ Themen & Techniken

OK. Das war jetzt schon relativ viel. Aber ich will trotzdem noch mehr nachtragen und zwar zu Themen, die man sich vornehmen kann und vielleicht sollte. Und auch zu Techniken die man sich trauen kann. Mit Kindern. Und es soll auch ein bisschen um digitale Fabrikation gehen jetzt noch.


(1) MODULARITÄT – „Der Kreislauf des kleinen Mannes“

Vor ein paar Woche habe ich diesen Artikel veröffentlicht, der die Poster-Forderung „Mach die Reste von heute zum Ausgangsmaterial von morgen“ mal für digitale Produktion etwas ausführt.

→ → Rectangalize It!

(Post durchgehen und erklären)

Fazit: Arbeitet mit Scraps vor Ort! Nehmt euch des Mülls aus digitaler Fertigung an. Studentinnen-Projekt von Emma Zerial: DIY-3D-Printing-Filament-ReUse. Das kann man wunderbar mit Kids machen!

Generell kann man zu Modularität wunderbar forschen. Die Frage ist wie?

→ → Modularize It!

(Vortrag komplett durchgehen inklusive des Modularize-It-Projekttextes und der Kriterien.) 

Fazit: Auch das könnte toll sein für Kids! Wie kann man mit digitaler Fertigung Löcher überbrücken in Modularität? Physisch vor Ort zeigen: Bottle-Lab. 


(2) AKTIVISMUS – in Stadt und Schule 

Bei einigen Workshops im Palast der Projekte konnte man es ja schon sehen: Man muss keine Angst haben, mit den Kids wirklich aktivistisch zu werden! Ohne Aktivismus kommen wir kaum zu von PIWO zu DIDO. Und gerade Stadt-Aktivismus für Nachhaltigkeit blüht gerade! Oder vielleicht (hoffentlich) beginnt er gerade zu blühen. Da geht noch mehr!

→ → City Hacking (Einführung) | City Hacking Kategorie mit vielen Beispielen

(Kurz die Idee von City Hacking erklären, dann Beispiele an Hand des Übersichtsbildes zeigen und dann noch ein paar Beispiele zeigen in Einzelposts – worauf soll ich mal klicken?)  

Von der Stadt in die Schule! Was kann man hier machen:

→ →  Kreislaufschule [LINK FEHLT]

Hierfür gibt es noch keinen Link. Aber wir entwickeln gerade ein Schulprojekt ähnlich zum Palast-der-Projekte-Projekt namens „Kreislaufschule“. Darin machen die Kids in kreativen Projekten ihre Schule Stück für Stück nachhaltiger nicht nur als „so tun als ob“, sondern tatsächlich! Jede Klasse nimmt sich einen Ressourcenstrom vor und sorgt für echte Veränderung in der Schule (Einblicke in den Entwicklungsprozess: Energie, Verkehr, Wärme). Der Prozess wird, wenn er fertig entwickelt ist, offen zur Verfügung stehen als Zertifizierung. Schulen können sich dann von Circular Berlin als „Kreislaufschule“ zertifizieren lassen, indem sie einige dieser Projekte selbst durchführen – also den Anleitungen folgen im Kunst- oder naturwissenschaftlichen Unterricht.  Freiwillige vor! : – )


Ende & Ad

Ok. Das war es von mir. Noch ein kleiner Werbeblock:

Falls Sie über zukünftige Projekte und Ressourcen informiert werden möchten, wir haben einen tollen Newsletter.

Unsere Seiten finden sich hier: MifactoriLars ZimmermannOpen Circularity

Und wir sind auch auf vielen Social-Media-Kanälen unterwegs z.B. als @mifactori auf Instagram oder @bricktick auf Twitter.

Vielen Dank für die Aufmerksamkeit! 



[  o°]


Newsletter 09 – New Design Hacking Research Program „Modularize It!“ + Licensing Open Design @Mifactori

/ English Version Below /


Hallo liebe Lesende,

die Dinge kommen langsam in Bewegung für den Winter und diesmal haben wir 2 interessante Neuigkeiten.

# 1 Open Design & Lizenzen bei Mifactori (MFPP)

Will man als Designer*in wirklich nachhaltig gestalten, kommt man um eine Beschäftigung mit Schutzrechten nicht herum. Allerdings haben die wenigsten Designer*innen darauf Lust. In unserem Blogpost erklären wir aber nochmal in einfacher Sprache die Grundlagen und stellen vor allem unsere neue „Lizenz“ vor, mit der wir bei Mifactori unsere Design Rights (Geschmacksmuster) open machen!


# 2 Modularize It!

Wir beginnen ein neues Programm zu Modularität! Modularität ist ein Schlüssel zu Nachhaltigkeit im Design. Auf welches modulare System sollte ich aber setzen für maximale Nachhaltigkeitswirkung? Worauf meine kreativen Energien konzentrieren? Das Programm „Modularize It“ bringt Design, Wissenschaft und Hacking zusammen für gute Antworten!

Das Projekt ist als offener Förderantrag veröffentlicht, d.h. momentan gibt es nur eine Projektbeschreibung und offene Rohversionen der Schlüsselarbeitsdokumente. Jedoch kann man mit der Idee und dem Programm bereits aktiv arbeiten bzw. die Entwicklung mit voranbringen losgelöst von uns oder mit uns.


# 3 Shopping: Climate Change Survival Christmas Angels

Weihnachten rückt näher. Und auf Nachfrage produzieren wir auch dieses Jahr wieder einen Schwung der Mifactori Klimawandel-Überlebens-Weihnachtsengel. Meldet euch bei uns, wenn ihr sie für euch oder andere haben möchtet.


OK. Soviel für heute. Bleibt dran. In den nächsten Wochen kommt der neue 2019er Schwung unserer Open-Design-Lampen gepaart mit einer ganzen Reihe von methodischen Ideen und Erkenntnissen zu Open Design!



Hello dear readers,

things start to move faster for the winter and this time we have 2 new things for you!

# 1 Open Design & Licenses at Mifactori (MFPP)

If you really want to design sustainably as a designer you can’t avoid dealing with intellectual property rights accordingly. In our post we explain the basics in simple language and present our new „license“ with which we at Mifactori make our design rights open!


# 2 Modularize It!

We published a new program on modularity  – „Modularize it“! Modularity is a key to sustainability in design. But which modular system should I use for maximum sustainability impact? The program „Modularize It“ brings design, science and hacking together for good answers!

The project is published as an open funding application. This means  currently there is only project description and open raw versions of the key working documents. However, you can already work actively with the idea and the program and advance the development with us or on your own.


# 3 Shopping: Climate Change Survival Christmas Angels

Christmas is getting closer. And upon request we will again produce a couple of the Mifactori Climate Change Survival Christmas Angels this year. Contact us if you want them for you or others.


OK. So much for today. Stay tuned. In the coming weeks the new 2019 bunch our Open Design lamps will be out coupled with explanations of new methodical ideas and insights regarding Open Design!

Translated with


Stay tuned and sign up for the newsletter if you haven’t already.


Social Media Visual

Mailchimp URL    

Lightning Talk: Hacking Modularity



[ o°]



I am an artist, designer and activist and also educator exploring openness and other design strategies for a sustainable world of products and cities pre & post climate change. We share a lot of our stuff at the page of our Design & Activism Studio Mifactori and here on Open Circularity. But for the next 9 minutes let’s just focus on one thing: Modularity.


Modularity & Sustainability

I am going to talk to you about modularity. Modularity is one design strategy for sustainability . It enables repair and reuse and therefor helps to reduce the production of new objects. But designers often only get half of this right. And our message to them is:

ARTICLE: Don’t invent a new modular system try to use (hack into) an existing one.

(Click on article just explain the free universal construction kit.) 

YES! Interoperability is key!


Example 1 – Pre-Use

There are a several strategies we explore for this. One of it is PRE-USE.

→ ARTICLE: Pre-Use Introduction | Read more: Pre-Use-Collection on FlickrPre-Use Category, Pre-Use Workshop for Academics

(Explain it brief and show some images.)

Example 2 – Open Design @Mifactori

Another is our OPEN DESIGN research. We are going to publish a lot more info about this, but for many years we do this research on creating a lamp or any objects that are just made with standard parts

→ TALK/ARTICLE: The Mifactori Open Design Lamp

(scroll just quickly through the images.) 

The idea here is to really only use standard parts you can get everywhere. And thus make sure everything is interconnectable and reusable in many many different ways.

We learned a bunch from that – what this means for the whole strategy of a product  and when the new iteration is coming out we will share these insights. Some are already in the talk linked above.

Example 3 – Lego Meccano Hybrids

A very simple example: Drill holes into Lego and make it connectable with Meccano style parts.

→ POST: Lego Meccano Hybrids | Related: Lego Hookrails, PET-Palace

(scroll just quickly through the images of link 1.)

Example 4 – Circular Street Waste

Here we tried to modularize with Kids waste like furniture or plastic parts:

WORKSHOP HOW TO: Circular Street Waste | More like this: Transformers Workshop


M☉dularize ❙t!(Hacking Modularity with the help of Science)

BUT! Since we are here at Science Hack Day Berlin I made sure that another very interesting approach or project is published made to tickle also your scientific bones!

→ ARTICLE – M☉odularize ❙t!

DOCUMENT: Criteria to rate modular solutions Version 0.1 .PAD

(go through the article explain it briefly in the time you have left) 


Quick Summary: The project proposes a rating system for modular solutions. The solutions are rated for example after categories like how common they are, how open, how hackable, how sustainable, how upcycling friendly and so on. The higher a solution is rated the more it can be recommended to be used in your designs.

And you can increase the rating of a system through hacking! Where to focus our energy if we want to turn the world into a lego like building system that will help us to survive climate change? 

This is about SCALE (the subject of this years SHDB).


Work with it at SHDB!

You can work with this here at SHDB! Here are a few ideas:

  • Count the available modular solutions here in this room (or on the street outside). Rate them – maybe with your own much simpler rating system. Hack the solutions to play with the rating.
  • More serious: Take the rating system and improve it – create a Version 0.2 – and present us an example.
  • . . .



Sign up to our Newsletter to get news from us!

Visit and share our pages – Mifactori, Lars Zimmermann, Open Circularity

Follow us on Social Media (we are on a lot of channels for example as @mifactori on instagram or @bricktick on twitter.)


Link [ o°]


Newsletter 08 – Two Exhibitions, Mifactori at Instagram, Talks, Workshops & an „Observatory for Open Hardware“


/ English Version Below /



der Sommer ist vorbei und alles geht wieder los! Wir haben ein aufregendes Jahr vor uns mit vielen neuen Projekten in der Pipeline. Fangen wir langsam an mit 6 Meldungen.

# 1 Mifactori ist auf Instagram

Immer wieder hat man uns gesagt, wir sollten auf Instagram sein, vor allem mit all dem visuellen Content von Mifactori. OK. Probieren wir aus. Wir sind jetzt auf Instagram. Wir posten erstmal ein paar alte Projekte und dann geht es mit neuen Sachen weiter! Folgt uns dort gern.


# 2 Neue Talks und Workshops dokumentiert

September ist Konferenzzeit und auch unser Kalender war voll. Entstanden sind dabei Dokumentationen zweier neuer Workshops und eines neuen Talks. Der Talk und einer der Workshops drehen sich um Circular & Open-Design-Fragen. Der Workshop „Klimastraße“ experimentiert eine Idee zur bottom up Wandlung unserer Städte im Stile eines zellulären Automaten – von Straße zu Straße. Einiges werden wir später wieder aufgreifen. Aber wer die ersten Entwicklungsschritte sehen will, kann sich Inputs und Beschreibungen gern schon ansehen.


# 3 Zwei Ausstellungen

In den letzten Monaten haben wir zwei Ausstellungen realisiert. Eine davon sehr klein zum Thema Circular Design mit den Studierenden an der HBKsaar. Die andere steht in Berlin und präsentiert die Ergebnisse unsers Ökostadt-Projektes „Palast der Projekte“. Die Berliner Ausstellung läuft noch und freut sich über Besuch. Infos dazu gibt es hinterm Link:


# 4 OSCEdays Berlin – das Programm ist fertig !

Wie bereits angekündigt, finden auch 2019 wieder die Open Source Circular Economy Days Berlin statt. Wir organisieren das Event gemeinsam mit dem Baumhaus im Baumhaus. Das Programm fürs Event ist jetzt fertig und online publiziert und verspricht sehr sehr interessant zu werden. Wir konzentrieren uns auf die Zero-Waste-Stadt und Zero-Waste-Kieze und machen große kollaborative Sessions, deren Ergebnisse nicht für die Schublade sein werden. Wenn ihr in Berlin seid oder es hierher schafft, kommt vorbei. Wir sind zwar eigentlich schon voll, aber trotzdem kann man sich noch Tickets klicken. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


# 5 OHO – Das „Open Hardware Observatory“ ist online !

Ganz am Rand haben wir die Entstehung eines sehr interessanten Projektes begleitet und beraten (z.B. mit der angenommenen Namensidee). Jetzt ist es soweit! Das Open Hardware Observatory (kurz OHO) ist online! „OHO ist eine Suchmaschine für offene Hardware, offenes Design und Maker-Projekte. OHO durchsucht das Web und macht seine Inhalte für dich zugänglich.“ OHO wird entwickelt von der Open-Source-Ecology-Germany-Gruppe. Sehr gut! Vielen Dank dafür.

LINK: (Englisch) | (Deutsch)

# 6 Open Structures ist zurück!

Das Open-Structures-Projekt ist und war immer eines der schönsten Projekte, welches wir kennen. Wir haben es mal beraten, empfehlen es oft und erwähnen es bestimmt in jedem zweiten Vortrag. Die Projekt-Seite war zuletzt down. Aber jetzt ist sie wieder da und ist vollkommen neu gestaltet! Wir haben die neue Seite und aktuelle Projektversion noch nicht ganz verstanden und es wird wohl noch dran gebaut. Aber in jedem Falle lohnt sich schonmal ein Blick.


OK. Das war es für heute. Bleibt dran. Es wird ein hoffentlich sehr produktiver Winter, frei nach dem alten Berliner Sprichwort: „Im Winter strebste. Im Frühling werbste. Im Sommer lebste. Und eines Tages im Herbste … sterbste.“





the summer is over and everything starts again! We have an exciting year ahead of us with many new projects in the pipeline. Let’s start slow with just 6 news for you.

# 1 Mifactori is on Instagram

Again and again we were told to be on Instagram, especially with all the visual content from Mifactori. OK. Let’s try it out. We’re on Instagram now. We post some old projects first and then we go on with new stuff! Follow us there pls.


# 2 New Talks and Workshops documented

September is conference time and also our calendar was full. The result is now the documentation of two new workshops and one new talk. The talk and one of the workshops are about Circular & Open Design questions. The workshop „Klimastraße“ („Climate Street“) experiments an idea for bottom up transformation of our cities from street to street – like a cellular automat. We will pick up on some of this later. But if you want to see the first steps of development, you are welcome to have a look at the public documents:


# 3 Two exhibitions

In the last months we made two exhibitions. One of them very small on the topic of Circular Design with the students at the HBKsaar as part of our semester as guest professor at the university there. The other is located in Berlin and presents the results of our eco-city project „Palace of Projects“. The Berlin exhibition still stands and is looking forward to visitors! Please go if you can. Info behind this link.


# 4 OSCEdays Berlin – the program is online !

As already announced, the Open Source Circular Economy Days Berlin will take place again in 2019. We organize the event together with Baumhaus Berlin. The program for the event is now finished and published online and promises a very nice event. We concentrate on Zero-Waste-Cities and Districts and do big collaborative sessions with results that will be used! If you’re in Berlin or make it here, come along. We’re actually already full, but you can still click a ticket anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


# 5 OHO – The „Open Hardware Observatory“ is online!

From farer away we accompanied and advised (e.g. with the final name idea) the emergence of a very interesting project which is finally online: The Open Hardware Observatory (OHO) is out! „OHO is a search engine for open hardware, open design and maker projects. OHO crawls the web and makes its content accessible to you.“ OHO is developed by the Open Source Ecology Germany Group. Very good! Thank you very much for that.

LINK: (English)

# 6 Open Structures is back!

The Open Structures project is and has always been one of the most beautiful projects we know of. We have advised it once, recommend it often and certainly mention it in every second presentation. The project page was down lately. But now it’s back and it’s completely redesigned! We haven’t quite understood the new page and the new version of the project yet, and it’s obviously still under construction. But in any case it’s worth taking a look.


OK, That’s it for today. Stay tuned. It will hopefully be a very productive winter, based on the old Berlin proverb: „In winter strived. In the spring you advertised. In summer lived. And one day in autumn … died.“ (Translated with

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„Open Source & Repair“ | Podium & Discussion


Podium @FIXFEST 2019, September 21st, 2019, Berlin, Host: Lars Zimmermann (Open Circularity)





What are we going to discuss here?


Open Source or Free Hardware & Repair


Ok. What is Open Source Hardware?


From Open Source Software to Open Source Hardware …


The definition of open source hardware:

Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware’s source, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs.

Ok. Sounds like it could help with repair. But how? Let’s see.

We have 5 inputs from people that are invested into open source hardware or open and free culture at all for a long time and made and make contributions to it. They will give us some input and share their ideas how open source relates to repair. After that we will go into an open discussion with you, answer questions and so on.



7min each

Martin HäuerOpen Source Ecology Germany; DIN SPEC for Open Hardware; Link 1, Link 2

Robert Mies; TU Berlin; Research Project OPEN! & OPEN!NEXT

Hannah Perner-Wilson; Kobakant; Open Wearables & DIY

Erik Grun; Free Software Foundation Europe; Freie Software

Lars Zimmermann, Mifactori & Open Circularity, Open Circular Design



Now it is your time to talk. You can make statements but also ask questions.

Potential Questions/Conversation Starters

How to license? 

How to build it? 

How to make it grow? 

What policies can it inspire? 

How can I help the movement? 



We run a small but fine event on Open Source, Circular Economy and City Neighbourhoods – Open Source Circular Economy Day Berlin – October 12 & 13 2019. Drop by – and we also still have space in our program, if you want to suggest something, we are happy to hear about your idea.



Workshop: PreUse, or DIY Circularity For Everyone!

Workshop Log 





my name is Lars Zimmermann. I am artist, designer and activist running a studio for open circular design called Mifactori, sometimes work as a teacher or professor for open design & sustainable city making. I create theory mostly on modularity, openness and circularity and organise events – for example in the past an event called „Open Source Circular Economy Days“.

And today – it is pretty early in the morning (at least for a Berlin based designer & artist 😉 ) we are going to do a little practical morning exercize. 

\(●◠‿◠●)/ !  

But I’ll start with some theory before we go into practice.



What I am going to show to you or talk about isn’t really that special and not new. On the contrary. But for me it is a very inspiring way to think about modularity for circularity.

I like to use the term „PreUse“ for it and I’ve written an article about it. Let’s dive into it.

→ Pre-Use article 


Step 1: Explanation of basic concept

Step 2: Showing Examples on Flickr | Category | @Home

Step 3: Going through the things from the article

1. Modularity | Extra-Link: „Hacking Modularity“

2. Reduce |  Extralink: „Talk: Mifactori Open Design Lamp“

3. DIY Circularity | Extra-Link: „Hacking & Wealth“

4. Circular Design Inspiration

5. Education | Extra-Links: (1) Palast der Projekte – Explain the palace & the font, (2) Modular Fashion Workshop, (3) Modular Fashion Poster, (4) Manifest: Make Nachhaltigkeitsbildung Nachhaltig! 


And Now: You ヽ(`Д´)ノ  !

OK. Here is what I planned for us to do. I brought a box full of fasteners with me. I am going to show them to you in a minute. We will use them to create an „exhibition of sustainable circular life“ here in this space. You can use everything you can find here in this space as infrastructure or exhibition pieces. But remember: Pre-Use! Leave it intact!

So here are our steps:

A – Setting up the exhibition

I suggest you split into groups of 3, 4 or 5 people. You get your fasteners and you discuss what you want to exhibit. Maybe you have something cool in your pocket or you see in this space or you can build it or mimic it with your bodies … Then create exhibition infrastructure from the stuff we have here and your fasteners – a pedestal, a board… We have XX minutes time for this. 

B – Visiting the exhibition

When the exhibition is set up we’ll open it! You can go around and see what the others have built. Try to figure out what you see. Discuss it with others – not the builders. | Maybe we’ll add an explanation round in the end with the builders. Let’s see if this is necessary.

C – Cleaning Up 

When we are done with the exhibition let’s take everything apart and put it back in its place. That is an interesting experience. Most of the time at least.

D – Discussion 

When we are done cleaning up and have a couple of minutes left, let’s sit down and discuss a little bit what we have made and saw. Ask questions. Make comments, and so on.


Questions (Conversation Starters) 

How would this look like if it was made to be an X and an Y? (Refer to something from the exhibition.) 

Modularity… Boundaries? Potentials? For Circularity & Climate Change Survival?  

DIY Circularity? What can citizens do for circular economy and design? What is their role? How to get them involved? What could activists do? 

Collection of stories. Everyone has pre-used something in their life! Tell us your example? 



UPDATE: Some RESULTS here on Instagram or here on Twitter



We run a small but fine event on Open Source, Circular Economy and City Neighbourhoods – Open Source Circular Economy Day BerlinOctober 12 & 13 2019. Drop by – and we also still have space in our program, if you want to suggest something, we are happy to hear about your idea.


Workshop Description from the programme: 

Title If Everything was Made from Lego There Would be no
Garbage – Hacking Things Modular with Pre-use!

Description Modularity is a key to a more sustainable world of products and consumption. This workshop will introduce two interesting concepts about „modularity for sustainable circularity“. We will discuss „Pre-Use“ and „Hacking Modularity“. Pre-Use means to use something for something different than it was intended for but in a way that it still works for the initially intended use afterwards. Hacking Modularity points to the idea that the majority of things around us are not modular but approaching things like a hacker can change that at least for some things. After a quick theoretical introduction to these concepts participants will build quick own statues and hacks at the conference venue using pre-use techniques.


Workshop: „Klima-Modell-Straße: Bürger machen Kreislaufstadt!“





ich heiße Lars Zimmermann. Ich bin Künstler, Designer und Aktivist und beschäftige mich mit Circular Economy (Kreislaufwirtschaft) und Circular Design für unsere Produkte, Leben und Städte. Das mache ich z.B. mit dem Design- und Aktivismus-Studio Mifactori.

Wir treffen uns hier unter dem Titel „Zirkuläre Wirtschaft (Circular Economy), zirkuläre Stadt und zirkuläres Design“. Ich werde erst ein bisschen was zu Circular Economy und Circular Design erzählen und dann werden wir ein paar dieser Ideen auf die klimafreundliche und post-Klimawandel-Stadt beziehen und im Workshop gemeinsam erarbeiten, was wir hier machen könn(t)en – als Bürger.


1. Circular Economy & Design

Ausführlichere Einleitung hier

In der zirkulären Wirtschaft geht es vor allem um physische Produkte und darum wie wir sie herstellen, verbreiten und ge- oder verbrauchen. Es geht fast immer irgendwie darum „Müll“ zu vermeiden und stattdessen die Ressourcen in der Wirtschaft zu halten.

Warum ist das fürs Klima relevant? Weil 40% der von uns erzeugten Klimaemissionen aus dem Konsum kommen (als ohne Essen, Mobilität, Heizen)!

POPULÄRE SPIELART: Circular Economy | Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Definition | Diagram | Diagramm Mirror 


Erklärung 1 | Erklärung 2

UNSERE SPIELART: Open Source Circular Economy  & Pre- & Post-Klimawandel-Design 

Open Source Circular Economy DaysVideo OSCE | Theorie @Mifactori

Einschub: Pre- & Post-Klimawandel @Mifactori?

Wir haben lange Zeit darüber gesprochen, wie wir mit besserem Produktdesign schädliche Umweltfolgen und den Klimawandel aufhalten können. Aber selbst wenn die Ideen da sind, scheint es doch eher unwahrscheinlich, dass der Klimawandel nicht kommt. Deshalb ist gutes Design heute beides: Es hilft dabei, den Klimawandel nicht weiter voranzutreiben und zugleich hilft es dabei, ihn zu überleben, d.h. mit den enormen Herausforderungen, vor die er uns stellen wird, elegant umgehen zu können.

Circular Economy und Circular Design sind nicht zwangsläufig nachhaltig! Es gibt unter diesen Labels vieles, was einem unter Klima- und echten Nachhaltigkeitsgesichtspunkten die Fragezeichen ins Gesicht treibt. Aber es gibt auch einiges an Ideen darin, die wir für Nachhaltigkeit in unserem Klima-Sinne fruchtbar machen können! Um die geht es hier!

„BUTTER BEI DIE FISCHE“ & HANDS ON: Was heißt das für Design und „Making“? Das „Baue Kreisläufe“-Poster, verfügbar in 8 Sprachen

Kostenfreier Poster Download, 9 Sprachversionen, editierbares Format Poster-Werkstatt im OSCEdays-Forum



2. Zirkuläre Stadt: Ein Bottom Up Gedankenmodell

Es geht also um Umgestaltung! Aber wie machbar ist sie?

Produkte? Ja.

Produkte ändern sich schnell. Es ist zumindest vorstellbar, dass wir sie am Reißbrett neu aufsetzen und anders aus unseren Fabriken fließen lassen. Vorstellbar ja, wenn auch praktisch trotzdem eigentlich unrealistisch.

Aber Städte?

Aber Städte? Die ändern sich noch viel langsamer! Das Problem ist, dass unsere Städte heute zum allergrößten Teil nicht nachhaltig funktionieren und den Klimawandel mit vorantreiben.  Die Art wie sie gebaut sind, wie sie unser Leben strukturieren und uns dabei zu Leben beibringen, ist nicht nachhaltig! Aktuelle Städte zwingen uns meist nicht-nachhaltige-Lebens- und sogar Denkweisen auf. Aber eine Stadt kann man nicht mal eben abreißen und ersetzen! Städtebau ist enorm ressourcen-, energie- und klimaintensiv!

Städte müssen wir „hacken“!

Was machen wir also? Die Antwort (unser Vorschlag): Wir müssen Städte hacken! (Ausführlichere Erklärung mit Text und Re:publica-Vortrags-Video dazu hier).

Was heißt Hacken? Es geht um kleine Eingriffe in schon vorhandene Infrastruktur, die diese Infrastruktur damit komplett auf den Kopf stellen, zu etwas anderem werden lassen. Keine großen Bauvorhaben also.

→ Hacking Beispiele

Mit Mifactori suchen wir seit vielen Jahren immer mal wieder meist im Rahmen von Events, Förderungen oder Lehrveranstaltungen viele Hacking-Ideen zusammen und stellen die Sammlung offen zur Verfügung. Lasst uns mal ein paar davon angucken.


Übersichtsbild aus dem City-Hacking-Mission-Statement



3. Workshop: Modellstraße!

Gut. Es gibt eine Idee, die ich mit euch gern mal diskutieren würde und an der wir hier im Workshop gemeinsam arbeiten könn(t)en. Sie ist ein bisschen verwandt zur gerade vorgestellten 50%-Campaign-Idee. Sie heißt „Modellstraße“und geht so:

Es geht um Stadtveränderung auf Straßenlevel. Also immer eine Straße tut sich zusammen. Wie in einem zellulären Automaten wandeln sich kleine Einheiten, stoßen ihre Nachbarn an, die ändern sich auch und so ändert sich langsam die ganze Stadt.

Die Idee ist, dass sich die Bewohner*innen einer Straße zusammenfinden und gemeinsam aktiv werden, um aus ihrer Straße eine Klima-Modell-Straße zu machen. Eine Straße könnte auch offiziell als „Klima-Modell-Straße“ „zertifiziert“ werden, wenn sich eine Institution findet, die das macht (Greenpeace oder ähnliches). Oder es könnte einfach dezentral ohne Institution funktionieren.

Für die Klima-Modell-Straße gibt es einen Katalog mit 100 einfachen Maßnahmen/Aktionen (oder 50 oder 25), die man machen kann in der Straße. Jede Maßnahme ist mit einer leicht nachvollziehbaren Anleitung hinterlegt und im Web verfügbar. Etwa so wie die frühere „The City Is Open Source“-City-Hacking-Seite mal aussah oder Instagram einfach aussieht.  

Maßnahmen-Katalog mit Aktionen

Eine Straße entscheidet sich, welche Maßnahmen sie davon umsetzen will. Es müssen nicht alle sein. Ein paar reichen. Stück für Stück. Aber je mehr man umsetzt, desto besser natürlich und desto mehr „Punkte“ bekommt man vielleicht. So wird sie zur Klima-Modell-Straße.

Der Ablauf könnte ungefähr so aussehen:

Schritt 1: Straßenschild aufhängen, Ankündigung machen

Eine Person oder Personengruppe hängt unter das Straßenschild der Straße noch ein weiteres Straßenschild, darauf steht „Modellstraße“. Parallel werden Flyer überall verteilt und Gespräche geführt – Ziel ist eine Einladung zum Straßenparlament.

Update: Vielleicht ist „Klimastraße“ der bessere Name!

Schritt 2: Das Straßenparlament

Das Straßenparlament trifft sich und wählt aus dem Katalog Maßnahmen aus, die umgesetzt werden sollen. Entscheidet gemeinsam darüber und legt sich einen Plan fest, wie das geschehen soll. Außerdem entscheidet, wie das Vorgehen weiter gestaltet sein soll: zukünftige Treffen, Arbeitswochenenden, Kommunikationswege usw.

Schritt 3: Schrittweise Umwandlung

Wenn ein Ziel erreicht ist, kann man sich das nächste vornehmen. Die Umwandlung kommt voran…

All das ist auf der Webseite immer mit guten Anleitungen und Best-Practices hinterlegt z.B. dazu „Wie berufe ich ein Straßenparlament ein?“ „Wie moderiere ich es?“ „Wie kommuniziere ich in der Straße?“


Fragen, Fragen, Fragen | Zum Workshop

Ok. Das ist die Idee. Sehr roh, sehr grob. Ich finde sie schön erstmal. Aber vor allem sind noch viele offene Fragen dazu zu klären! Ich möchte im Workshop diese Idee mit euch diskutieren und wenn möglich weiterentwickeln.

Vorschlag: Ihr teilt euch jetzt in 5er Gruppen. Und in eurer Gruppe entscheidet ihr euch für eine der beiden Fragen von unten, diskutiert dazu und entwickelt Antworten. Dann stellen wir uns das vor. Ich werde es dokumentieren. Und so beginnt die Entwicklung dieser Idee, die dann andernorts fortgeführt werden kann.

Frage 1: Kommunikation & Organisation

Wie kann man so etwas organisieren? Da stellen sich viele Unterfragen:

  1. Welche „Institution“ veröffentlicht den Katalog? Wie ist der Katalog legitimiert? Wer updated ihn?
  2. Wie kann man in der Straße kommunizieren? Wie berufe ich als Bewohner*in das Parlament ein? Gibt es hinterher eine Webseite, auf der Fortschritte dargestellt werden? Oder organisiert sich die Straße in einer WhatsApp-Gruppe oder etwas in der Art? Wie stellt man Fortschritte den Bewohner*innen dar und vorbeikommenden Passant*innen?
  3. Wie geht man mit Widerspruch in der Straße um? Wenn „nur“ 50% der Bewohner*innen sich für das Projekt einsetzen, aber 3 immer ihre SUVs in der Straße parken … Gibt es Streit? Ist eine „Ökodiktatur“ ein potentielles Problem? Kann man das abfedern? Oder will es gar provozieren?
  4. Welche Fragen muss man noch stellen?

Frage 2: Maßnahmen für den Katalog?

Erfindet Maßnahmen für unseren Klima-Modell-Straßen-Maßnahmen-Katalog. Welche Maßnahmen könnten das sein? Was können die Bewohner*innen einer Straße auch umsetzen? Was bringt ihnen auch frühe Erfolge, die sie motiviert halten, sich auch schwerere Aufgaben vorzunehmen?

Hier ein paar einfache Ideen: Cargo-Bike-Stellflächen markieren | Insektenfreundliche Bepflanzung oder sogar Lebensmittelanbau auf den Grünflächen | Ein Sharing-System für die Bewohner*innen der Straße | Ein Veganer*innentreff | …

OK. Wer hat Lust an Frage 1 zu arbeiten – geht bitte in diese Raumhälfte – wer hat Lust auf Frage 2 – dann in diese Raumhälfte. Dann teilt euch nochmal in kleinere Gruppen. Stifte und Zettel gibt es bei mir.

Präsentation und Dokumentation

Modellstraßen offenes PadModellstraße geschlossenes Pad (Sicherungen) 

The Mifactori Open Design Lamp | Talk





nice to see you all again. When I was asked to share a presentation on this meeting I asked myself …


What else can I say to you

… about Open Hardware that you don’t already know or that was not said already?

Well then I thought of something I just understood myself a couple of weeks ago. It is a tiny thing. But maybe interesting enough.

Let me start here:


Why isn’t Open Source Hardware more successful?

There are a couple of reasons. I am sure you have your opinions too. But I think one of them is:




Because we have to (re)invent the hardware designs for it


This seems an obvious answer for someone who just worked as a guest professor in design at a university (full course is also here). „If you have a hammer everything looks like a nail.“ 

But hear me out.

Let’s start with another look a the Open Hardware Definition:

Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design. (…) Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware.


  Makes it easy to copy! 

Makes it easy to document! 

And these are two of the things that make open hardware so much harder compared to software. The documentation is more complex and you can’t copy hardware usually by clicking a button. So the design strategies above are an attempt to fix that.



I tell you a little story about that…

In 2015 I started to develop A LAMP.

My Goal: 

I wanted to make an open source circular lamp. A lamp that is easy to build, modular (all parts reusable for something else) and recyclable. So I picked

  • only standard Parts and
  • mostly recyclable materials. 

This was the first result in


And it continued like this


OK (°°)

This triggered a letter exchange with the scientist Andre Wendler called:

„Open Source Circular Design ist unfassbar hässlich!“

translates to:

„Open Source Circular Design is incredibly ugly!“

It is a very interesting text that was printed in the book „Die Welt reparieren – Open Source & Selbermachen als postkapitalistische Praxis“ transprict, 2016.

The book is Open Access (and available as PDF) and the original article of course still on my blog. It is worth reading I think and pretty successful. I still met surprisingly often people who know the text.

The text tackles things like:

  • The common idea that Open Source = DIY and that it is not DIY!
  • How sophisticated our industrialized world and its factories are.
  • How much do users want to get involved with their stuff?
  • How to make sustainable design?

and more.

I made progress with the lamps (I think)

I continued to search with this design principles for a lamp that is constructed like this and still beautiful.



I got to this in 2017

Hiebo 4 Pic 2
Hiebo 4 Assembly Step 0 Pic 1



And then to this in 2018. This bulk was called „Hypercircularity Lamps“. And there are videos for each lamp.

Mifactori Hypercircularity Lamp No5 D
Mifactori Hypercircularity Lamp No9 C1
Mifactori Hypercircularity Lamp No6 C1



Well. And now I am here (no really good pics available yet)

Mifactori Open Design Lamp - Transparent Development


And here is what I’ve learned.

There will be an extended blogpost about this. It is already written. But other stuff is missing. You’ll find it here:

Presentation Mode: Open 2 separate windows and slim them to 50% and put them next to each other. On the right this text on the left the album part with the latest lamps.

No Final Design Needed!

I alway thought that I might end up with a final design. But I never did. And I don’t need to. Classical industrial designers need to…

„Every industrial designer has basically the same problem. There might be close to infinite alternatives to the details in the design of a lamp. Just think about how many colors there are. But at some point the designer need to make a decision. Because the factories in the past still most of them today can’t produce infinite iterations of a lamp at a low price point. You have this one design and you adjust the whole production and distribution process to it to get to an incredible low price point. The key is mass production! Mass production is cheap. So get to one design and adjust the mass production process to it.

Well, but with my lamps this was not the case. Because they only consist of standard parts that are mostly already mass produced in highly efficient processes. No machines no production line has to be set up for them. It is just the question of individual combinations of standard parts. I don’t have to align a production process to an individual lamp. Only – when I sell the lamps – a packaging and marketing process.“

Like Lego ?

Somehow this is well compared with Lego. How many Lego parts are there? A lot! But it is not an infinite number. (…) Lego has a highly efficient process to mass manufacture these parts. (…) And there is a basically infinite number of things you can do with these parts. (…) And what is good way to sell these parts? It is sets of course. Lego gets down to one set – like I come down to a new and nice iteration of a lamp … But of course there is more to learn from Lego. 

. .^. .

Excursus: The Lego Ecosystem

Ok. It is obvious now, that we can learn a lot from Lego and the culture that has emerged around Lego – especially since the design protection for the Lego Bricks has expired and there is a growing number of competitors bringing more and more high quality products to the market. So let’s have a quick look into the Lego Ecosystem.

  • Lego Ideas: Legos own open innovation platform
  • Lego – Digital Designer: A software to create things (and instructions?)
  • Lego Competitors: All produce compatible bricks, many add things to the system Lego does not produce for example light-bricks, bendable bricks or weapons
  • The #Lego hashtag on all kinds of platforms.
  • A huge fandom on Youtube with hundreds probably thousands of channels dedicated to Lego – from gossip to marketing to MOCs (MOC = My Own Creation) – from informative & fun to super nerdy (1)!
  • A huge realm of all kinds of start ups, kickstarters and hackers that make use of the Lego bricks in many different ways. Example: faBrickation, Example: Lego Hookrails, Example: „Lego Hacks“ search term 
  • *! Bricklink! An incredible database of all Lego sets ever sold and all bricks ever produced connecting them with each other plus with resellers of individual parts. So you can „rebrick“ a set and the platform generates the cheapest price by picking the cheapest offers from all resellers.
  • *! Rebrickable! People share their MOCs, often with instructions, sometimes they sell the instructions! Rebrickable is connected to Bricklink: You can order the parts with one click – for the cheapest price!
  • … What did I miss?

I think Lego is for us as ppl. interested in open hardware and its possible ecosystems a super interesting case to study! What possibilities emerge with what techniques of #documentation, #communication, #businessmaking & #design?

And what issues occur for example around licensing questions even after the core wen open? (Click Link: 1, 2, 3)

. .^. .


OK! And now? What to do with this insights?

Ok. What do we learn from that? For my Open Design Lamp and for Open Design (on this – lower – level of complexity and even beyond) at all?

A lot! To much to fit it all in here or even understand right now. Maybe you can help? Here are a few things for the start:


–A– Design & Documentation: What Makes The Lamp? Recurring Solutions

The lamp is now a collection of ideas how to elegantly turn standard parts into a lamp or parts of a lamp.

  • (The hook for the bulk holder.
  • The lamp shades.
  • The ring nut as a base.
  • The knurled screw for the hinges.)

These ideas occur in many different lamps. These standard solutions are the lamp. And in my documentation I’ll focus on them. I’ll probably document them well and then refer from different lamps to this documentation of just components. And the rest is play.

So the product is not a standard product but a collection of flexible solutions to create products.


–B– Library Of Parts?

Would it be nice or make sense to have a library of parts – all nuts and bolts that were ever used – and have them connected to existing lamps? Like Bricklink. But for this lamp?

Not sure. Although the number of Lego parts is quite high – there is a finite number of parts. With the lamp not so much! Because with this lamp you have

  1.  all possible nuts and bolts on this planet – which is a much much higher number than Lego Parts and
  2. the design invites all kinds of scraps and other materials for example for the base.

So there is no finite library of parts. Or the effort to create such a library would be too much, to expensive = not make any sense economically!

Ok. What does this mean? A BOM makes sense for an individual lamp (set). But not for „the system“. What kind of system is it? 


–C– Remix Over Prior Art! Make Legal Protection Impossible! (?)

I think this is a really interesting question, idea or insight! Or problem …

If you really want to keep the design open, you should avoid brillant new and unseen solutions. Nothing where „Design Rights“ could become a problem or even patents. Non registered design rights are granted automatically for the first 3 years. This i a problem you have to deal with as a designer aiming for openness, if you depend on others need to be able to securely remix it. So here is the task: Create a legally risk free situation by not being too inventive! Remix existing culture in a way that keeps it remixable.

„This is the spirit of Openness! Hack the patent system that often blocks sustainability – that is very often an enemy of sustainable climate friendly design – hack it by going around it …“

I have not thought this through entirely! But is sounds interesting. It could be a way to go around some of the problems our current legal situation with property rights creates for Open Hardware and Open Design. „Create Boring Designs!“ That is exciting!


–D– Business Model?

Ok. How can I – or how can the Open Design & Activism Studio Mifactori make money with the lamp?

Well. Luckily in my neighborhood there is an unusual amount of little lamp shops. I plan to go there and ask them if they want to try and put my lamps on the shelf. That is easy. Let’s see, what I’ll learn from that.

But what other potential business models are there? Well, according to my own book chapter on open hardware business models: 

  • put them in online shops (next to the local shops)
  • I could try and get a deal with people that sell lamp parts or lamps – I do the marketing with my talks, further development, set development, community monitoring and so on – they sell the parts.
  • The brand „Mifactori“ and „Mifactori Open Design Lamp“ is protected (potentially). If established people might buy the original or pay to be allowed to use that name. (Similar to the point above)
  • Custom made work! The lamp is just advertisement for my design work and might bring me jobs – to design sustainable things, or office environments or exhibition infrastructure and so on! I am not too keen to run a selling business anyway. I enjoy to come up with new things and document them.
  • + your ideas? 

REMEMBER! The interesting thing is that no selling business has to be established here for the lamp. All these parts are already available. They have a business model! The lamp is just a communication and distribution process on top.

OK. That’s it from me. I had a couple of questions. Maybe we can have a discussion about them or something else.