From 21.03.2013 to 21.04.2013
Hôtel Droog, Amsterdam

What at first glance appears to be a rocking chair, turns out to be a knitting machine. And while you sit and rock on the chair, a knitted hat is created. As you do a little dance on a platform, an expandable carrying bag is made. Another spectacular machine makes popcorn—a single kernel at a time.

Low-Tech Factory is a project by ECAL/Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne, Switzerland. In a workshop led by Chris Kabel and Thomas Kral, students from Bachelor in Industrial Design and Master in Product Design created a series of simple but sophisticated machines that not only create an experience, but actually produce finished goods—hats, mirrors, bags, toys, lamps and popcorn.

With this project, the theme of auto-production is raised. Recently we have seen countless designers make their own machines. And while it often seems the machine becomes more important than the result, in this case, the design of the machine and its resulting product are in balance.

The exhibition presents six machines with videos. At the opening on March 21st, the designers will demonstrate the machines themselves. The question—why are designers making so many machines—still remains. With this question, we will enter into a debate on March 21st with Alexis Georgacopoulos, director of ECAL, Chris Kabel, Joanna van der Zanden and Joris Laarman. The evening will be moderated by Tracy Metz.

Students projects

"Oncle Sam" by ECAL/Laurent Beirnaert, Pierre Bouvier, Paul Tubiana
The "Oncle Sam" machine processes grains one by one, focusing on the transformation of corn into popcorn. An explosion that usually occurs en masse is here isolated so that the spectacle can be enjoyed. Satisfaction is at once visual and gastronomic.

"Rocking-Knit" by ECAL/Damien Ludi, Colin Peillex
"Rocking-Knit" is a new interpretation of the rocking chair. It offers its user productive moments of relaxation. The to-and-fro movement of this armchair knits hats for the winter and requires no exertion whatsoever.

"Stamp" by ECAL/Anaïs Benoit Dignac, Arthur Didier, Edrris Gaaloul
"Stamp" is a production line that converts simple plastic trellis into portable lamps. The steps in the manufacturing process are carried out along a rail: the plastic is heated, shaped, and finally crimped over an inexpensive bulb. The result of this ingenious production is a portable lamp complete with a graphic lightweight shade.

"Swing" by ECAL/Léonard Golay, Camille Rein
"Swing" is a giant punch that transforms pieces of stretch tarpaulin into extendable openwork sacks. The items are produced by the weight of the user who, gyrating, executes a production movement resembling a dance step.

"Animal Growth" by ECAL/Eleonora Castellarin, Moises Hernandez
Through the use of simple hand tools, this fun worktop breaks down the production process of animal toys manufactured from expanded foam. Cutting, gluing, filling and observing the animals takes shape before your very eyes.

"Marbelous" by ECAL/Anurag Etchepareborda, Flora Fixy
Using a surface transfer method known as “marbling”, the Marbelous transforms simple objects by coating them with a thin layer of marbled motifs. With a few drops of paint, surprising colour effects are transferred to metallic mirrors, giving your reflection an unexpected impression.

Low-Tech Factory Hôtel Droog, Amsterdam 2433

"Stamp", ECAL/Anaïs Benoit Dignac, Arthur Didier, Edrris Gaaloul. Photo ECAL/Nicolas Genta

Low-Tech Factory Hôtel Droog, Amsterdam 2434

"Rocking-Knit", ECAL/Damien Ludi, Colin Peillex. Photo ECAL/Nicolas Genta

Low-Tech Factory Hôtel Droog, Amsterdam 2435

"Oncle Sam", ECAL/Laurent Beirnaert, Pierre Bouvier, Paul Tubiana. Photo ECAL/Nicolas Genta