Platform21's Repair Manifesto

Stop recycling, start repairing!

Platform21 = Repairing started with the idea that repair is underestimated as a creative, cultural and economic force. If we don’t consider repair a contemporary activity we will loose an incredibly rich body of knowledge – one that contributes to human independence and pleasure. The situation is especially puzzling when you consider current global interest in other ideas related to sustainability, such as recycling and the cradle-to-cradle philosophy.
With Platform21 = Repairing we aimed to raise awareness of a mentality, a culture and a practice that not so long ago was completely integrated into life and the way we designed it.

In the hope of spurring a reappraisal of repair, Platform21 wrote and published a manifesto describing the benefits of fixing things and calling upon designers and consumers to break the chain of throwaway thinking.
Throwaway thinking, a culture in itself almost, is designed to cater to short term needs of both industry, politics and society. But by being very successful at short term effects it has lost track of the innumerable and rich possibilities that lie ahead if durable notions of design in general, and repair especially, are reconsidered and implemented.

In the slipstream of the Repair Manifesto Platform21 organized workshops, an exhibition, lectures and repair evaluation clinics both with professional designers, students, amateurs, as well as the general public. It is in the richness of the palette we wanted to present, from the mildly absurd positions of some of the participants involved, to the completely functional, logical and directly implementable techniques of others. Maybe the most important quality of repair is to give your products a longer life, but this is not the only quality. Repairing adds your personality to products, teaches us how things are made and how to take care of things. It gives a sense of accomplishment and control, and not least important, it is fun. So, STOP RECYCLING. START REPAIRING.

Thonet chair repaired by Harco Rutgers, photography by Leo Veger
Repaired window by Helmut Smits, photography Leo Veger
Repairing the Waag in Amsterdam with LEGO during a workshop with Jan Vormann, photography Johannes Abeling

Such an attempt to put repair on the agenda was never going to succeed in isolation. All across the world big and small initiatives are trying to come up with better ideas than the ones that have ruled this planet for the last century or so. Platform21 invited everybody and every institution who feels connected to the ideas expressed in the manifest and projects, or who has researched and expressed similar ideas, to contact us and participate on any level that is fit for restructuring the way we consider repair, and sustainable ideas for life.

Participants in Platform21 = Repairing amongst so many others: Jan Vormann, Cynthia Hathaway, Krijn Giezen, Yuri Suzuki, Rachel Griffin, Eran Nave, Guy Keulemans and Martijn Dijkhuizen, Nienke Sybrandy and Eva Heisterkamp, Ernesto Oraza, the Lloyd Hotel, Daan van den Berg, Nina Katchadourian, 5.5 designers, TXT department of the Gerrit Rietveld academy and Helmut Smits. Thank you for all the great things you added!

Download Platform21’s Repair Manifesto in English.

Platform21 = Repairing took place from 13 March – 30 August 2009.

Platform 21, Netherlands


Platform21 has closed down

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Platform21 is a design platform aiming to positively influence the relationship between user and product.
Through our projects we question today’s society, connect amateur and professional creativity, reveal the making process, and stimulate dialogue and the sharing of creative knowledge.
We believe that showing and sharing the process of creation is a powerful way to engage a broad audience in divers aspects of design. It opens up the assumption that design is a professionals’ creative discipline only.

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