The advent of the digital and its rapid integration in contemporary life--where everything is within arm's reach, eager to be activated with even the most inadvertent swipe of a finger--has simultaneously facilitated and distanced us from developing a new notion of craft. Today we are living through a democratization of machines that sees the public at large in constant contact and exchange with their gadgets. Still, aside from a host of portable and non-portable devices are our disposal, much of this machinery remains out of reach for the majority of us, including, unsurprisingly, designers. Access to toys such as 3D printers, a CNC mill, or even just a laser-cutter remains elusive, unless you're enrolled in an (expensive) architecture/design program or happen to be employed at a relatively large, tech-leaning firm. Which is why GE "Garages", a "mobile manufacturing lab", is so cool.
GE Garages brings rapid prototype machines and manufacturing processes to the street. Architects and designers, tinkerers and inventors are all invited to join and play around with the equipment for free. The "Garages" also host collaborative workshops, tutorials, and lectures for participants who are new to the world of digital fabrication or for those who simply want to expand their skill set. The pop-up also features a small store with "curated merchandise" that customers can put together at home. Sounds great, right? Well, GE Garages is on its way to New York (!), and they want give you $20,000 to design the face of its new storefront presence.
The pop-up will be housed in STORY, a Chelsea-based retail space which operates with the "point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store", meaning that a new retailer literally pops-up inside every 4-6 weeks. GE & STORY are partnering for the GE Garages Making Things Competition to find an architect/design to design and build a window installation that will greet crowds when the store opens October 5. That's a little less than a month from now, meaning you've got to act fast!
Entries are due September 20, with the winner announced on September 24. In keeping with the project theme, the designs must incorporate some form of rapid prototyping, be it 3D printing, milling, or evne using an injection molder. The fabrication will start immediately thereafter and continue up until the installation deadline, October 4. Not only will the winner receive a highly-publicized commission, but will get $20,000 to make it happen. Submissions are free and open to all. Get to work!
For more on the GE Making Things Competition, including registration, design requirements, and jury info, head over to the competition page.