Giorgia Rossi Industrial Design & Photography

manufacturing for overcrowded living

Industrial Design project, University of the Arts x Camden Council, London, July 2017 - ongoing 

Open Manufacturing Process; Plywood employment; Laser-cut Prototyping; CNC machine; Rhino 3D; Film making and post production; Business Planning: time managing, resources allocation, stakeholders research

The brief

Design a range of bespoke furniture to be produced through open manufacturing processes in order to improve the domestic situation of Camden residents facing overcrowding issues.

The process

  1. Meet 5 families in their homes and collect design proposals in a co-design workshop
  2. Develop the furniture range iterating sketches, models and laser-cut prototypes before creating the products with CNC machine
  3. Find a place to produce the furniture
  4. Build an online platform to support a possible scaled service

This project started as a eight week group assignment involving UAL, Camden Council and Camden residents facing overcrowding issues.

Realizing we would have been working with real people to provide them meaningful solutions was one of most interesting discoveries of this project. Our first objective was to establish connection and empathy with each resident. We visited their homes, informed them about the aims and a predictable time-line of the project.

Residents in their homes

Residents in their homes

At the same time, we were working on Fab Labs mapping phase: after having decided that CNC was the most suitable machine for this project, considering materials cost, assembling and timing, we tried to find out where the making process could take place.

We organized a co-design workshop, introducing our families to Fab Lab and personal fabrication culture through a short video of the making process following the concept co-ideation phase: it was important for them to understand their possibilities and design boundaries through CNC making and how they could eventually be involved in finishing and assembling stages.

We employed different techniques and design tools to develop our proposals: paper sketching, 3D and laser cut modelling for prototypes and CNC for the actual making.

CNC allows us to use no glue or metallic/mechanical parts and to work only with joints and wooden connections. This facilitates the assembly phase in terms of speed and complexity. In fact, we were trying to conceive a process which required the families less skills as possible to do it themselves.


As a last update, in November 2017, we managed to deliver one of the pieces to our first resident, Barbara and we received the first feedback. It took us 30 minutes to build the cupboard and the process was smooth, but we noted aspects which may need to be improved or changed for the next deliveries.

further development

The project is still in progress and we are continuosly finding new opportunities to improve it:

  1. Deliver furniture to the families and record feedback
  2. Design a wider range and a catalog as open sources for the implemented service
  3. Create a business model to support the project and expand the audience

References Dr.Adam Thorpe (Professor in Socially Responsive Design, CSM); Rose La Touche (Camden council).

Special thanks Ande Gregson (FabLab/GreenLab London); Assa Ashuach (3D modeling for online platform support); the residents: Barbara, Barbie, Joanne, Jade, Selene.

Team: Liliya Galabova, Barbara Guoth, Zoé Kahane, Elora Pierre, Giorgia Rossi, Yin Wang