08 August 2011

Open Source meets design

Ronen Kadushin is a Berlin-based industrial designer who's onto something he calls Open Design.

Through Open Design, Kadushin distributes his household objects under a Creative Commons license. Anything you see in the Open Design catalog can be downloaded and recreated, shared and owned by anybody who adheres to the agreements spelled out in Creative Commons.

Creative Commons holds that anything made available through it can be used by anybody so long as the originator gets credit for his or her work. This website is published under a Creative Commons license and it's something I support wholeheartedly.

I'd always thought of Creative Commons as it relates to internet content and I think it's exciting that a highly-regarded industrial designer is distributing chairs and lamps to the world through it.

All you need is AutoCAD and access to a CNC router and you can have any of the items in the Open Design catalog. Just download the .dxf file and you're ready to go.

I'm fascinated by this idea of course, but Kadushin seems to have included something in his Open Design catalog that's intended to be a lure for me specifically. Here it is.

Does it look familiar? It ought to.

It's a light fixture based on the centerpiece of Picasso's Guernica. Click on this photo to expand the painting.

Guernica is the first painting I ever studied and through it I learned just about everything I know now about art appreciation.

Pablo Picasso painted Guernica for the Paris Expo in 1937. It was his response to the German and Italian bombing of the Basque village of Guernica at 4:30 in the afternoon on a market day. The men, women and children killed that day were innocent civilians and Picasso's painting drew worldwide attention to the bloodbath that was the Spanish Civil War.

In the years since 1937, Picasso's Guernica has become an emblem of the futility of war and the unacceptable toll it takes on innocent civilians. It's one of the most profound pacifist statements of the 20th Century. Look past the Cubist conventions Picasso used in this painting and read a bit about what he's saying.

As an interesting and nearly unknown aside, the estate of Nelson Rockefeller commissioned a tapestry replica of Guernica for the United Nations. From 1985 through 2009 it hung in the UN's headquarters in New York. However in February 2003, when Colin Powell arrived to make the case for the US's invasion of Iraq, the tapestry was covered by a blue tarp so that it wouldn't be the backdrop when he appeared on camera to address the press.

It's since been placed on permanent loan to the Whitechapel Gallery in London. Presumably so as not to embarrass any more war-mongers.

Anyhow, check out Ronen Kadushin's entire Open Design catalog. If you have access to a CNC machine, I'd love to see some results of your downloads. If you find yourself short of a CNC, you can buy Kadushin's stuff already made at Movisi.


  1. I don’t know. More and more these days I find myself asking just how many people the United States has to kill worldwide before we’re assured a good night’s sleep. It’s not a thought that’s been making me any friends in certain quarters, but even so, it’s what I think!

  2. I wonder the same thing. Killing people just begets more violence so people shouldn't sleep too soundly.


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