The Amity Project recognises the enormous benefits that art, design and culture bring to new innovation through experimentation, original thought and discovery of new ideas. Such creative activities and energy have the potential to support local economic initiatives through the creation of new innovative and marketable products. Additionally, through direct collaboration and working together of ‘artists and engineers’, new emerging technology can be applied in the arts and crafts industry by providing advanced tools, materials and methodologies to realise previously impossible projects.
We are entering a new era (known as the maker revolution) where powerful tools that were once the exclusive domain of large enterprises are now being acquired by individuals and small businesses e.g. 3D Printing systems and 3D CAD modelling software that allows the individual or SME the power to better compete in markets. The arts and crafts industries are in a good position to benefit from this new movement, however, up-skilling will be required for the average practitioner as the tools become more sophisticated.
To achieve this, Next Interface created the Amity Project to focus on potential collaborative projects which involves products designed for co-designing i.e. both engineers and artists become co-designers working on the same products. This promotes a mutual transfer of skills between both the engineer and artist working closely as co-designers. The result is a massive potential for new products as a result of exploiting the synergy of this coupling:
Some excellent results have already been achieved with early trials and case studies now taking place in Cape Town where a design engineer works directly with local arts and crafts specialist thus combining their expertise into workable products. Currently, Next Interface, the incubator of the Amity Project is investigating several projects and products at various conceptual levels, many have prototypes and some products have especially been accelerated to be launched this year to coincide with Cape Town winning the World Design Capital 2014 award.
The Amity Project has made excellent progress in 2013 researching, identifying and developing prototype products designed specifically for co-design and crowd sourcing further designs. We are now entering the second phase of recruiting partners to go ‘hands-on’ in the spirit of ‘artists and engineers’ to refine, further develop and expand the products base. This phase will target one particular product we have selected and commercialise it firstly for local markets and then expand to global markets using the capabilities of Next Interface. The product identified for this task is the Amity Light Box and is launching now with the first production samples been marketed to generate awareness and secure suitable retail outlets.
Our vision of a new generation of co-created products embedded with emerging technologies and crafts are in final stages of planning already – something we like to refer to as Arts & Crafts 2.0, …and we believe South Africa can be a part in this new era of generating new products with technology and crafts.
UPDATE 19/08/2014 – We are launching our very own store called ‘Collective Crafts‘ to display some of the products that have been developed from the initial implementation phase of the Amity Project – yes, you can actually purchase them now! Please visit us at www.amitybox.myshopify.com to see what we do or to buy an Amity Gift that’s very special for someone special. …enjoy!