Júlia Bertoncello


Manufacturing Locally, and Creating Global Impact

My role: service designer

Team: Design Now Summer School

When/Where: 2016 - Italy

Exhibition: XXI Triennale di Milano

MESH is a service that introduces kids into the FabLab environment, making them conscious of it and motivating them to develop their skills by designing and manufacturing their own products guided by user-friendly tutorials. This service aims to instigate a future generation that values and supports local manufacturing and commerce.


“Fab City: Designing Products and Services for Urban Resilience through Manufacturing - Manufacturing locally, and creating global impact".

This brief is focused on the growth of Fab Cities, a new urban model with an ecological system of local production where movement of materials and energy consumption are drastically reduced and cities become self-sufficient.

The challenge was to define a service that could create a global impact for future generations.

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This project was developed during Design Now Summer School organized by Politecnico di Milano. During one week, amongst lectures and museum visits, this project was implemented using a Design thinking methodology and user centered design approach, carrying out group discussions and using tools such as brainstorming, user journey, system map, personas and storytelling.


Thinking about creating a global impact for the future, children were selected as a target due to their propensity to be interested in new subjects, to learn easily and to contribute with a long-term mindset for the future generations.

Using MESH, children can learn the importance of using local resources, explore Fab Labs and discover what they can offer, developing a sense of self-sufficiency by meeting their needs performing projects on their own, thus stimulating their creative potential, since the current educational system does not.

In addition to the target audience, stakeholders also benefit from the project. Fab Labs can grow within communities; local stores sell more and the community and the environment become more resilient.

During the development of the Application, the main service tool, a product was also designed as an example of which projects the kids could get involved with. A toy whale car was created using local materials and some digital fabricated pieces from Fab Lab Milano. The pieces were designed to be easily assembled by a kid with adult supervision. The car moves using a simple balloon mechanism: after filling the balloon and placing the car on a plain surface, simply releasing the balloon, liberating the air and moving the car.

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An Application/website that will be available, shall offer ready-made designs for download and an option to customize them, creating different projects. Online guides with all the necessary information are provided allowing the kid to bring forth the project by themselves; in case it is not possible, they can look for a guidance in the nearest Fab Lab. The service provides a map with the locations of local stores that have the materials available for sale and which FabLabs can give support for the project.

It is a simple process. First, the children are encouraged by their school, family or community to use the app, and if it is necessary, they will teach them how to use it. Kids can choose between downloading a ready-made design from the website/app or create their own customized version of it.

The building steps consist of buying parts and materials from local suppliers; manufacturing the design with the support of the Fab Labs and assembling it according to the playful guide tutorial. Kids can upload all the details of the making process to the platform, while they discover and contribute to the growth and mapping of the Fab City. Therefore, they will be part of the whole making process of their own designs.

Moreover, the projects can be shared at the online community as well as in the schools, neighborhoods and families, generating a favorable atmosphere to exchange knowledge and suggestions.



The project was displayed in Fabbrica del Vapore and Brera Design District during the XXI Triennale di Milano International Exhibition, in September and October of 2016.

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Frank Vloet - England

Julia Bertoncello - Italy

Marina Lopez Grande - Spain

Tiago Henriques - Portugal

Vishal Kurdia - India