The well-orchestrated ‘Low-Tech Factory’ contains a selection of machines designed by Bachelor’s and Master’s students of Industrial Design and Products at a workshop led by industrial designers Chris Kabel and Tomás Král at the ECAL University of Art in Switzerland. Now, if only all manufacturing processes could be this charming….

The Concept

For its 14th edition earlier this month, Designers’ Saturdays in Langenthal, Switzerland offered their space for the students to let their imagination run free while developing a series of machines exploring the manufacturing process of a selected product. The satisfying experiments explore processes such as molding, thermoforming and knitting, resulting in fabricated mirrors, hats, bags, toys, lamps and popcorn.

The Machines and Production Lines

Rocking-Knit by Damien Ludi and Colin Peillex
Rocking-Knit is a new interpretation of the rocking chair. It offers its user productive moments of relaxation. The rocking movement of this armchair powers a knitting mechanism that knits hats for the winter.

Marbelous by Anurag Etchepareborda and Flora Fixy
Using the marbling surface transfer technique, the Marbelous transforms simple objects by coating them with a thin layer of marbled motifs. The prepared mixture is transferred to metallic mirrors, giving the resulting reflection an unexpected impression.

Stamp by Anaïs Benoit Dignac, Arthur Didier and Edrris Gaaloul
Stamp is a production line that converts a simple plastic mesh into portable lamps. This simple production line consists of the plastic being heated, shaped, and finally molded over an inexpensive bulb. The result is a portable lamp with a minimalist aesthetic.

Swing by Léonard Golay and Camille Rein
Swing is a giant ‘punch’ that transforms pieces of stretch tarpaulin into functional, expendable bags. The bags are punched/produced by the weight of the user who, while rotating around on the device in a somewhat dance-like movement produces the piece.

Animal Growth by Eleonora Castellarin and Moises Hernandez
Similar to the simple production line presented in Stamp, this manufacturing setup produces animal toys manufactured from expanded foam. The production line consists of cutting, gluing, filling, and forming steps.

Oncle Sam by Laurent Beirnaert, Pierre Bouvier and Paul Tubiana
The “Uncle Sam” machine focuses on one single kernel of popcorn at a time, allowing the user to experience the full effect of corn turning into popcorn. The resulting experience provides more satisfaction than watching a cluster of corn kernels popping at random. Bonus: includes a salt and butter feature.

via ECAL


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.