To celebrate Makerversity’s tenth anniversary, Somerset House in London is presenting an exhibition that showcases some of the studio’s latest projects.Curated by Makerversity’s director and co-founder Paul Smyth, Makerversity: Designing for the real world features a range of engineering and design innovations produced in the studio.
Over the past decade, some 1,500 creatives have passed through Makerversity, working at the intersection of design, engineering and digital practice to develop groundbreaking solutions for the world’s biggest challenges, including climate change, health and inequality.
The exhibition features some award-winning successes, as well as research in progress, across topics as diverse as sustainable materials, customisable product design, ethical AI and pollution reduction. Key to the exhibition is Makerversity’s ethos of designing and inventing with a social purpose, solving problems in the present to create a better way to live in the future. ‘Makerversity was founded with the idea that design and making are tools for social good,’ said Smyth.
Across three rooms, a selection of current residents and alumni will take visitors through the process of bringing creative solutions from the Makerversity lab and workshop to life, from initial ideas and prototyping to the making process and real-life applications.
Early test-concepts of now successful works of design will be presented alongside documentation of the design process, in an ode to the essential role that trial-and-error plays in developing solutions to the challenges facing the world today. Contributors include the Tyre Collective, who use electrostatics and airflow to reduce microplastics created by tyre wear (pictured above); Samudra, who have created a water-monitoring device for seaweed farmers; Enayball, a tool that allows anyone in a wheelchair to independently create large-scale drawings (pictured below); and Amphico, a 3D-printed amphibious garment that functions as a gill, designed for a future in which humans live underwater.
Audiences will be introduced to the workshop environment through the Workshop of the Future – a live project space fitted with state-of-the-art machinery where new innovations will be created for the first time. This space will show how workshops and making have adapted to new technologies, subverting traditional ideas about what a workshop should be.
Led by Makerversity member Rickie Cheuk and Smyth, with a rotating group of makers joining them throughout the course of the exhibition, the workshop will demonstrate the hugely varied making processes that find their home in Makerversity. Cheuk, an artisan whose practice explores peculiar ways of making, particularly through ‘circular design’ (producing objects using waste materials from different industries), will collaborate with other Makerversity residents whose expertise span AI, biomaterials, robotics and beyond.
After the exhibition closes, the experimental works and equipment will become a resource for the whole of Makerversity, continuing the legacy of the show within the community.
The exhibition will run until 4 February 2024 in the Terrace Rooms, South Wing, Somerset House. Open Monday to Sunday; entry is free.