Made in Machina/e (MiM) is an ongoing project exploring the near future of products, algorithms, market dynamics, and global design cultures. Inspired by how products emerge from the overabundance of components in China and by machine creativity experiments, MiM is a real/fictional company that mixes market, machine, and human design inputs to create new mashups and unexpected products.

Made in Machina/e is a project in collaboration with Sami Niemela born out of the mutual interest in exploring different future processes of how products can be ideated and designed and clashing global design philosophies.

The first iteration of the project focused on exploring the differences and similarities of traditional Nordic design and 'Shanzhai' culture and was exhibited in late 2018 in Shenzhen at the He Xiangning Art Museum.

Nordic design traditionally thrives on the idea of an author, collective, or societal needs as the deciding factor in what gets designed, manufactured and sold, and to what price. Focusing on nature and materiality to show a lifestyle. Shanzhai, seen as a design process too, uses the 'natural' availability of components as a deciding factor, merging into unexpected mixed products, designed by no author, for needs that might be for few, like a craft object, but built in an industrial age. 





Made in Machina/e explores how to combine these two approaches in design to create a new process. One that uses the marketplace of available components as a new nature to draw from, that replicates the merging with a new machine-driven process and allowing a new type of authorship to designers to emerge.

By scraping components and products already available on Alibaba we created a corpus of 'natural material', which is then fed to a neural network that has been trained on Nordic typical design products.  This generates a large number of potential product description and a human curator can pick up the most interesting, quirky, weird, or even non-human ideas and expand them into briefs for human designers to work with.

The three first products emerged from mixing together electrical components + chairs, gaming controllers + vases and phone repair parts + lamps. 

Battery pack wooden charging chair.
A clean dining room chair with battery
pack legs, various charging systems and
all possible sockets in the joints.

Scraped from Alibaba.com
Generated by rnn_tensroflow.py
Selected by S.Rebaudengo and S. Niemela
Designed by Jari Miranda
Made by Open Make


Ceramic game controller vase.
Playstation / wii-style controller
with a discreet wrist strap and that
doubles as a vase.

Scraped from Alibaba.com
Generated by rnn_tensroflow.py
Selected by S.Rebaudengo and S. Niemela
Designed by Benoit Rouger
Made by Duch Group

Chandelier Phone Display light.
A showpiece pendant with phone
displays and backlight
screens as light source.

Scraped from Alibaba.com
Generated by rnn_tensroflow.py
Selected by S.Rebaudengo and S. Niemela
Designed by Chiu Chih
Made by Chiu Chih


Products & Exhibition, 2018
Collaboration: Sami Niemela
Thanks to: Chiu Chih, Jari Miranda, Benoit Roger, Danny Kuo.
Built with Textgenrnn by Max Wolf and a lot of other materials.

Made in Machina website | HXN Art Museum Exhibit

Made by Simone Rebaudengo © 2019
Creative Commons License