RepairWare: Home Products Redesigned to be Easily Fixed
As an economic theorist once pointed out to illustrate an idea: there is not one person on this planet who can make a pencil. Likewise, who among us is qualified to fix even the most generic of everyday home products? Some, sure, but certainly not all – which is where RepairWare comes in. This iron takes a common household object and simplifies its parts so that anyone could maintain and fix it, regardless of their skills or previous experience (or lack thereof).
The steam iron is part of a larger idea by Samuel Davies: to make it easy (or at least possible) for ordinary people to repair their own domestic products … without highly-specialized knowledge, complex replacement parts or other supply-chain-reliant materials and methods.
Larger-than-usual screws make it obvious how to disassemble the unit (and require no task-specific tools). Traditional (and relatively interchangeable) components make it possible to create spare parts if absolutely necessary. This is not to say someone could rebuild it from scratch, but putting it back together and swapping out certain likely-to-break pieces goes a long way toward product longevity.
Some items still function this way – certain simple tools, guns and other machines – but many daily-use designs have evolved well past the point where someone could pick it up and intuit how to make it work again once broken. As a by-product of the core idea, this conceptual series also reconnects individuals to the generic items of mass production often taken for granted. A closer connection between human and machine is rekindled.
It’s obvious that we need certain appliances and electronics to advance beyond the simple designs of the 20th century, which were much easier to repair. But why do they have to be so complex, their inner workings so closely guarded by manufacturers, that we have no choice but to throw them away after a very limited lifetime of use? Sustainability demands the consumer right to repair goods of all kinds.