Working at Mifactori
"The future depends on what you do today.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
During this semester, I am working at a small open circular design studio in Berlin called Mifactori, which focuses heavily on sustainability and education. Throughout my internship, I am working very closely with the company’s founder, Lars Zimmermann, on ongoing projects within the studio. While I am here, I am contributing to the development of exciting and innovative new products, all of which are intentionally designed to have a sustainable and circular life cycle. I also manage the company’s communication and am currently working to find new ways for Mifactori to reach a larger audience with its message of sustainability.
A large portion of our work at Mifactori is testing emerging recycling technologies and prototyping with these materials. Thus far, we have experimented with recycled silicone, polypropylene, acrylic, and more. An important aspect of Mifactori’s design strategy is ensuring that each material in our products is easily separable from other materials, making the recycling process much easier for consumers. Each individual material is designed to extend beyond the life cycle of its product. Mifactori works to incorporate as many reused materials as possible into the original design, and then encourage consumers to continue repurposing materials after they have finished using the product.
The products we design are meant to be long-lasting, easily reparable, adaptable, and upgradable. It is the mission of Mifactori to grow the potential of each material, not to waste it. In addition to its sustainability goals, Mifactori aims to keep its projects open source, giving others the ability to discover, take, and modify eco-friendly designs to fit their own personal needs. Beyond creating sustainable products, Mifactori aspires to create a community of people that embrace these design principles and will incorporate them into their everyday lives.
In pursuit of its mission of sustainability, Mifactori relies heavily on the support of its community. As such, creating and maintaining a social media following is critical for the growth and development of the studio. While working on the company’s communication strategy, I have learned how to connect with others who have similar interests and goals as those of the studio. I have been able to showcase some of our most recent and successful projects, worked on professional partnerships, and have grown the following of Mifactori on multiple platforms.
Mifactori also has a passion for education, successfully reaching people through workshops and other programs put on by the studio. In the near future, I will be involved in events that teach the community about food sourcing, climate change, and other topics related to the sustainability conversation. Mifactori has also done events at local schools and has worked closely with young children in the surrounding area. In a recent event, Mifactori taught a class on how to use everyday objects found in the home in fun and imaginative new ways.
In my everyday life as an intern, I get to design and strategize alongside other creative thinkers, both in the studio and from my apartment in Berlin. Whether collaborating in person or remotely, I always benefit from conversations with others who have lots of experience in this field. I also personally gain so much from creating physical models and prototypes as a team – working hands-on with recycled materials and inventing new ways of using them. On my days where I work remotely, I conduct lots of research and work diligently to extend the digital reach of Mifactori’s message.
In my time at Mifactori so far, I have learned so much about the mission and work of the studio and have been able to contribute to projects on both the physical and digital fronts. Whether I am experimenting with new materials, prototyping, working on digital platforms, brainstorming for upcoming events, or otherwise, I am always doing something to build upon the vision and goals of Mifactori. This has also been a great opportunity for me to grow in my understanding of circular design and to apply these principles to my future work as a designer.