Mass Customization and Design Democratization

International Symposium

12-13 May 2017

Penn State Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Philadelphia, USA

About the Symposium

Thanks to parametric design and digital fabrication it is now possible to massproduce non-standard, highly differentiated products, from shoes and tableware to furniture and now even houses. Variety no longer compromises the efficiency and economy of production. Furthermore, parametric definitions of products’ geometry are made accessible via interactive websites to anyone, who could then design their own, unique versions of the product.

Such “democratization” of design – through mass-customization – raises many interesting questions such as the authorship of design and the functional and esthetic quality of products (shoes, tableware, furniture, houses…) designed by non-designers. This symposium explores social, cultural and design implications of this emerging “design democracy”, including its technological origins.



Jose Duarte / Penn State University, State College, PA, USA

Branko Kolarevic / University of Calgary, Canada


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