5 — Thomas Lommée

Thomas Lommée is a designer who maintains the OpenStructures project, a “construction system where everyone designs for everyone.”

OpenStructures is an experiment that explores what happens when people design objects using a common open standard — allowing for objects to be reconfigured or adapted over time, and parts to be swapped out, exchanged or added to create new objects. It’s like a participatory Lego that is open to anyone, and can be used to make anything from a toy to a lamp; a kitchen appliance to a living structure.

We talk about the surprising things that happen when you can reconfigure the world around you; possible futures for open design systems, and the value of  designing in public – when objects ‘come alive’.

Along the way, we ask how designers get paid in a digital economy, how is power and reward shared out between platform owners and content creators, how can complex objects be made out of primitive grids, and what is the role of makerspaces, libraries and other public institutions in a world of open participatory design.

Show notes

This episode will be broadcast on Resonance 104.4 FM on Sunday 20 March. To listen on Resonance, check out the show page.


This series of Looking Sideways is a Lighthouse production for Resonance 104.4 FM.