New design competences for localized production systems: a case study in Denmark

Kaare Eriksen, Nicola Morelli


This article discusses the current development in production culture, based on local production networks. The role of the designer is put in perspective and outlined through a research project, Den Grønne Møbel (DGM), where different design areas were coordinated in a business concept and an organization involving different stakeholders. For several years now, DGM has been producing furniture from local materials, hereby aiming to create a new culture for well designed and environmentally sound furniture with a ‘story’. Although not totally new, this organizational model is particularly innovative in fully industrialized countries such as Denmark and represents an interesting alternative to globalized industrial production. Furthermore this case is an interesting opportunity to re-discuss the role and competences of designers in such new models. Tools and methods of the design profession are especially valuable in such holistic concepts, but also further tools and methods should be developed to support such initiatives.

Today […] it would be interesting to revaluate handicraft and its original product culture as a critical dimension, related to memory, especially in the light of the existing social need for a review of the energy cycle, use of resource and social integration through work. This doesn’t mean that we should turn back to handicraft based production, which would be impossible and not desirable, but it rather means that we can introduce a parallel track in production on social plan and in specific companies working between high technology and craftwork. (Thau 1990), translated by the authors)

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