An urban design lab prototyping eco-engaged making and living.
What are we?
The Humblefactory is a design lab in Seattle, Washington founded and run by Dominic Muren. We are imagining, designing, building, and open sourcing an alternative paradigm for manufacturing. One that is rooted in self-supporting polyculture ecologies, not mining and monocultures. One that is scaled to match the size of human social groups, not to optimize corporate efficiency. One that allows as many people as possible to make any tool or object they or their community might need. And it's this community bit that is most crucial: We aren't interested in starting a new society in the wilds of Portugal or homesteading in a scratch-built off grid cabin. We love cities, and all the great things that come with them. And we want to figure out ways for city (and suburb, and exurb) dwellers to also work toward a more resilient, more eco-integrated future, while keeping things like cafes and used book stores.
Urban living demands novel ways of engaging with ecosystems and with human techno-systems in order to support all the diverse characters with a stake in the game. We're inventing everything from open sourced motorized wheelbarrows, to snail micro-farming operations, and doing it on an urban lot scale.
Garden and Nurseries
We love the permaculture idea, but we find that many permaculture or forest garden design examples are too large-scale, or two chaotic to be implemented in most urban sites, so we're prototyping our own mix that responds to Seattle's unique challenges - especially slope and short, dry growing seasons.
Raw Material Production
As a product designer, our founder Dominic knows that a major source of the damage that we do to the environment comes from how we source materials from ecosystems around the world. We're experimenting with producing more of those materials hyper-locally, and even creating neighborhood-sourced products.
More than any of these one things on their own, we are trying to build a holistic vision of how people might live in cities which could be vibrant ecosystems on their own, BECAUSE people interact with and change them, not in spite of their human participants. We are trying to bring the Solarpunk genera of writing and art into reality.