Can digital technology push boundaries?

What is achievable in terms of circular cities?

Paris incubation program aims to move circular solutions to the next level with computational design 

Volumes is a creative and productive hub in Paris specialized in computational design and digital fabrication. Within the Paris pilot, the hub is supporting REFLOW through a platform called Driven by Volumes, an incubation program aiming to embed advanced Computational Design strategies in Early Stage Entrepreneurship for a Circular Economy. The program offers makers, designers and entrepreneurs a full access to digital fabrication facilities but also to a community of experts in digital technologies and process plus a series of online workshops. Driven by Volumes is being prototyped within REFLOW with the following question in mindinstead of being considered as a set of boundaries, can technology serve to explore and find new, radical and unexpected solutions for human fundamental challenges? 


Why we are here 

We at Volumes have been exploring for years applications of generative design, digital fabrication, algorithmic optimization and its impact in the way we build our cities. Through different workshops, events, open lectures, we consolidated a wide network of creative professionals that use such technologies in their practices. Within our communities, projects and ideas pop-up but sometimes it is challenging for them to build a strong business models. 

On the other hand, we observed a lack of connection between such creative communities and big corporations of the temporary construction sector. Driven by Volumes emerged with the idea of bridging those gaps in the sector and to support the creation of  new radical solutions of business. 


What are we doing for the circular economy 

One of the main challenges for a transition to a circular model in our cities is to create scalable services and products with a solid and sustainable business model by intercepting the value creation in the maker communities. With Driven by Volumes we aim to trigger an awareness of how computational design can be used to consider and put to action all the principles of a circular economy. The projects we select for incubation will act as precedents within the field. 


Our objectives 

Our goal is to run different rounds of the incubation program. Each round has a 6 to 12 months span and we select from 3 to 5 projects for round. During the program we support those projects towards the definition of their concept, their business models definition and the establishment of the company. Along this process, we provide projects with: 

  • KNOWLEDGE in form of mentoring and online training 
  • Access to our ECOSYSTEM facilitating connections with industrial partners, funding opportunities and makers of our local communities 
  • FACILITIES, including desk space and digital fabrication labs and tools 
  • ACCESS to project contents and tools including REFLOW OS and the knowledge hub 

 Our long term objective is to keep Driven by Volumes alive and financially sustainable also after the end of REFLOW, so we can expand its impact beyond the 3 years of applied research. 


How you can get involved 

The online workshop is scheduled for Jan. 11st to 15th and is tutored by the renowned  engineering team Bollinger + Grohmann. Get ready: we plan to build the Pavillon during  the summer!

  • If you are just interested, follow our blog and our Instagram in which we share insight and findings about our activities and research 
  • If you are a young entrepreneur and have an early-stage idea for a future company offering services and solutions for circular economy, wait for our next public call for projects which will be released next spring and apply to join the incubation platform 
  • If you are an expert in digital technologies and circular economy, contact us to discuss potential collaborations as mentors or to run one of our workshops 
  • If you are a company coping which challenges related to temporary construction logistics and/or material reuse, contact us to join the platform as industrial partner 

Image credits: ELEMENTS is one of the projects currently incubated at DRIVEN. The solutions provided by Elements aim to bridge the technological gap between the building sector and other major industrial players. By relying on low-cost embedded data storage technologies, Elements produces an efficient and resilient digital materials management service. This approach enables accurate control over the use of construction materials, helping to meet growing challenges over the reuse of components and the overall carbon footprint of the building industry.

Who we’re collaborating with 

Within the REFLOW Consortium, we are in particular collaborating closely with: 

  • Fab City Grand Paris and the City Council of Paris 
  • Ecovala for business model mentoring in support of incubated projects 
  • With IAAC, as we are jointly incubating a project called SIFTSITE, developed within one of the school educational programmes 

You can get more information on the project on our social media platforms: 

Driven Instagram – Driven website – VOLUMES Facebook – Volumes Website


Main image credits: Circular pavilion by WAO Architecture. Full credits and more info here

Driven by Volumes, Paris

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