Even more than authorship, ownership is challenged by the rise of digital and computational methods of design and production. These challenges are simultaneously legal, ethical and economic. How are new methods of fabrication and manufacture going to irreversibly change not only ways of working, but also designers’ ethics and their stance on ownership? In his 2013 second-term State of the Union address, President Obama stated that 3D printing ‘has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything’. Nowhere will the impact of 3D printing be felt greater than in the architectural and design communities. When anyone can print out an object or structure from a digital file, will designers still exert the same creative rights or will they need to develop new practice and payment models? As architecture becomes more collaborative with open-source processes, will the emphasis on signature as the basis of ownership remain relevant? How will wider teams working globally be accredited and compensated? This issue of AD explores this subject; it features the work of designers who are developing wholly new approaches to practice by exploring means of commercialising process-based products rather than objects.
Contributors: Phil Bernstein, Mark Garcia, Antoine Picon, Carlo Ratti and David Ruy
Featured architects: Francis Bitonti, Marjan Colletti, Wendy W Fok, Panagiotis Michalatos, Jose Sanchez, Thibault Schwartz, Aaron Sprecher, Feng Xu and Philip Yuan