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April is Design Month at AMT! Learn to Hack more mindfully!

Platonic Solid Concrete Lamp

Starting April 5, Ace Monster Toys is pleased to host a month of design courses and workshops with Régis Lemberthe of A&Ré DesignOriginally trained as an industrial designer, Régis graduated with his Master's Degree in Humanitarian Design And Sustainable Living before moving to Berlin and getting involved in the local maker community. He now presents several different workshops there, in parallel with his activities as part of A&Ré Design Studio.

From his description:

"One of the most appropriate and exciting answers to mass production and consumption, the maker movement has in the last years gained considerable recognition. Fab labs and hacker spaces are being created in every major city, offering those familiar with low-scale productions techniques access to adequate machinery, as well as training for everyone else. Skill sharing in fab labs is based on the know-how and experience of artists, designers, makers, programmers and hackers committed to making production accessible to all. Yet, while some techniques are widely spread, others sadly remain more confidential. After a few years spent facilitating events at Betahaus Berlin, French designer Régis Lemberthe goes on tour - a series of craft workshops and social+collaborative design courses hosted in maker spaces of various different cities - lasting for a month, wherever interest and facilities are. It has started in 2013 in Betahaus Berlin and will continue in early 2014 in the US, Canada and London before proceeding towards south-east Asia. "

List of Events:

"We’ve all heard of upcycling, and we all have an idea what its advantages and incovenients are. But of course everyone does it different, and my work as part of A&Ré is no exception. Prior to starting facilitating the workshops, I like to present how we aim to bring value back to discarded objects and materials, what difficulties we encountered while trying to make this work on a bigger scale, and how we answered those. "

 This free one hour lecture presents a short, thoughtful introduction to humanitarian design.  The lecture includes a slideshow presenting some of the most interesting projects of the design discipline and their underlying dynamics, and a conversation to answer everyone’s questions on the topic.

Do you want to turn your creativity into something tangible and useful? Do you have an idea you want to work on, or a project you would like to realise? Do you frequently work with designers and think it’d be good to be able to put yourself in their shoes? Or are you simply curious to know what’s behind most of the design projects you encounter?
This course will be just the occasion to understand the design process, to master specific techniques and to try these on an small personal project project. We’ll talk design methodology, materials, production techniques, and prototype making. In the end, participants will have the basic knowledge necessary to design their own objects, either on their own or in collaboration with workshop and industries.

At its very sources already, design was aiming at solving problems. Those were first of a technical nature, before the discipline became a commercial investment. Design can also be used to tackle social issues, and this is just what this month-long course focuses on.

The program is split in two parts: a theoretical one that will give participants detailed information about how a standard design process works, because of course one must master the techniques they wish to make use of; and a practical part, during which participants will work as small teams on a social challenge of their choosing. 

By the end of the program, people who had no previous design experience have a strong understanding about what design is, what it can be, and a good grasp of the skills required to lead a project to completion - basic research and design methodology; knowledge about materials, production techniques and ecodesign; method to integrate a project within a complex system; prototype-making basics; and project communication and funding.

Concrete is most often thought of when talking about architecture or urban space, but it really isn’t the first material that pops into mind when you think about domestic objects or jewelry. And yet, what this workshop offers is precisely this: for participants to come and design their own projects to be made of concrete, and to discover what textures and colours it can take. 
One of the great characteristics of this materials is that it is so fine, it will take the texture, sometimes even the colour of any material you cast it in. This is a great opportunity to upcycle packaging materials and turn them into moulds. Participants are therefore asked to bring as many containers as possible - all we need is that they are waterproof. Juice bricks, plastic bottles, that’s all perfect.  
This is a 2 sessions workshop - we will work on our models on the first day and, once concrete has dried, the final steps will consist of releasing the pieces, polishing and coating them. Old clothes advised on both sessions. 

This 1 part workshop focuses on mold-making with silicone. Being able to make a silicon mould can always be useful, especially for people planning to work with resine, concrete or plaster. And it doesn’t have to involve costly, high-end materials from some specialised online store. During this workshop participants will learn to make moulds on the cheap, using only products from the hardware store. And all they have to bring is a simple and small shape they would like to make a mould of.

This 1 part workshop focuses on preparing paper pulp paste, a reclaimed material suitable for strong, lightweight designs.

No, papier maché is not just for making spooky halloween masks- it is also a great material for building anything that needs to be both light and strong. Also, it’s only made of old newspapers, and can be given virtually any shape. In fact, it’s not even papier maché we’ll be working with, but lesser-known paper pulp - a counterpart shredded so fine, thiner layers are more solid.  

This workshop doesn’t just focus on making lampshades out of paper pulp,  it is also about learning how to prepare the paste, so that the process may be reiterated at home. Participants are therefore invited to bring some newspapers with them as raw material - anything as long as it isn’t glazed.  This workshop is also lots of fun for kids.

Design Month at AMT wraps up with a collaborative design session and buffet dinner.
Fast-design sessions are an interesting model, especially when addressing a local issue together with members of the community. The pace of work stimulates creative thinking, invites participants to put the craziest ideas on the table, no matter whether good or bad.
Based on the model I experimented with Enable Berlin, collaborative design sessions allow people with no design background to work on a complete creative process - from brainstorming to prototype presentation - in under four hours, with results that often surpass anything a professional team could have achieved in the same timeframe. 
And because sessions are supposed to be a social event, a buffet dinner is also part of the evening. All in all, anyone can join, meet new people and enjoy themselves while laying the first stone towards improving a specific aspect of their direct environment.

Visit the meetup calendar for full event details and to sign up.  All meetups are open to members of the public. Hope to see you there!

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Ace Monster Toys is a non-profit hackerspace based in Oakland, CA, dedicated towards education, hacking, and maker culture.

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