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.