One of the great things about the Maker movement is that just about anyone can be part of it. However, when those who get involved in making already have extensive experience with digital design and proficiency with rapid prototyping technologies, then a lot more new possibilities can emerge. For Parma-based designers MQB, that is exactly what happened, as the team’s founders, Eugene Morini and Michela Montanini, both have an extensive background in product and brand design, with a particular focus on the automotive industry. That is where they first learned about and implemented 3D printing technologies. Now that these technologies are available to everyone, they are using their experience to create products that can be 3D printed locally.
The acronym MQB stands for Make, Quick, Be Born, which, in a way, metaphorically represents the young startup’s evolution, as they embraced the Maker movement, coming from rapid (or quick) manufacturing approaches, and were “born” as a modern workshop of digital artisans. “In the Renaissance the creative artists conceived an idea, developed it in all its aspects and translated it, thanks to a team effort, into possibilities,” they explain on their website. “With the contribution of craftsmen, the idea was then created and delivered to the world in highest quality.”
The studio still works mainly on design, implementation, communication, marketing and distribution projects; they also create innovative products with high technological content, in different sizes and materials. They also operate in different fields that are compatible with their 3D modeling skills: industrial design, architecture, computer graphics, car design, social advertising, trade show and retail design.
By embracing the Maker community as digital artisans, MQB created products tailored for that very idea of distributed manufacturing that has spawned the birth of FabLabs and makerspaces all over the world. MQB wants to encourage this new generation of creators, designers, and producers who – in the company’s view – belong both to the world of craftsmanship and the digital world
In order to do this MQB promotes the development of products that can be fully built just through the use of a low-cost domestic 3D printer. By purchasing their uniquely designed 3D printable files online, Users can modify them and 3D print them at home or at their local FabLab. MQB’s long-term goal is the development of small series productions for several different types of product lines, including: urban furniture, toys, and urban mobility.
The first products on sale are somewhat related to the founder’s professional automotive background. One is Automobile 36, a toy car or soap box car with pedals, for children from 3 to 6 years old, made of cardboard, with plastic parts 3D printed in PLA. Currently it is being sold as a kit, but, in the future, when 3D printers are a part of everyday life and every family has one at home, it will be possible to simply purchase the car’s file alone.
Another is Fantacar, a 3D printed toy car kit, imagined as a concept to compete in the Bonneville Salt Flats for the land speed record. Today, it is just a distant dream, but it might just be fast enough to inspire the next generation of Makers.