How Do & Design Modelling: The Berlin Magic Marble Run Workshop


The first International Design Modelling Workshop in Berlin, came as a result of meeting Emma Rose Metcalfe, a co-founder of the App How Do at IDEO’s Make-A-Thon and discussing how to create a workshop that blended some of their in-house electronics wizardry with physical prototyping.



(view full size image)


Alessandro Contini and I brainstormed some ideas about how to create a transferable modelling concept, which showed the mechanical properties of simple materials and electronics to great effect, while allowing people to express their own ideas, rather than following a prescribed format. The only rules, as shown in the Magic Marble Run plan, were the heights for the models to ‘connect’ with.


Those who attended the workshop had travelled from all over Europe and as a result we had an eclectic range of talents and interests – clearly show in the range of mechanical ideas, which range from fishing tales to magnetic tread-mills.


Check out the videos of some of the fantastic mechanisms:

Design Modelling workshops have been more instructional in the past, where as this was a very challenging task. Clearly some of the group has some experience in one area of modelling or electronics, but not often both, consequently there was a real sense of camaraderie, with people helping one another.

It was satisfying to see people take on board the ideas Alessandro and I has demonstrated earlier on in the day, but the most satisfying things was how people has pushed way beyond this to make highly original and complex work. As you can see from the state of the desks, it was furious thinking and making – exactly what Design Modelling is all about.

More images on Flickr, here.

How Do was an obvious platform to work with Design Modelling, as it is effortless application for capturing any creative process that you might wish to share with others or record for later. It’s also free, so check it out at

Cardboard cogs a micro guide by Emma Rose Metcalfe on HowDo

More Howdos by Victor Mark and Simon :