WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD
An update from the founders of the lab
The Fab Lab story and program was born out of a collaboration with Grassroots Invention Group and the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Media Lab in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - with Prof. Neil Gershenfeld leading a class at MIT (MAS.863) named "How To Make (Almost) Anything" which led to the popular Fab Lab concept. The open source nature of the program has prompted others to build their own labs, with Vigyan Ashram (India) being the first to establish a Fab Lab outside MIT in 2002
Fast forward 10 years and 450 labs later, Fab Lab London joined the story in 2013 establishing a home in the heart of the City of London in a Mercers’ property at One Frederick’s Place. Offering a plethora of services based on digital fabrication machines, making tools, open access facilities, educational programmes, corporate team days, event space and a vibrant and driven community of makers.
Fab Lab London was one of the first open access digital fabrication spaces which formed part of a 50 strong open network of makerspaces, craft houses, metal workshops, woodwork centres and high tech incubators across London http://openworkshopnetwork.com/
The founders, Andrew Gregson and Tony Fish, built Fab Lab London. Both are driven by a passion for creativity, great design and engineering, pure curiosity and to build a community of makers in the City. Their diverse backgrounds in engineering, design, investment, science communication, fintech, aquaculture, event management and technology made for a vibrant vision and community.
Operating for over three years the Lab saw a number of fundamental shifts in ideas, concepts and thinking across the digital fabrication landscape. Changes that progressed so rapidly that we need to adapt to the new order. We experimented and mastered funding models for the lab, different membership tiers, service offerings, educational programmes and marketing methods.
So what’s next?
Fab Lab London has closed Frederick's Place coinciding with the end of the lease. We designed, built, operated and handed over a series of Labs in partnership with Barclays, the last one being Notting Hill Gate. The founders have decided to take a short break before establishing any new ventures with the Lab. Thinking time as so much as moved on and new opportunities need to be established.
Tony is orientating towards the stages post prototype as the early one off fast proof of concept is largely working. How do you digitally manufacture 10 to 200 of your product, on shore, fast and at a price that works, using a distributed model to avoid shipping and transport, which is a stepping stone to sustainable, life-cycle driven design for manufacture and scale - late seed to early A.
Andrew has moved into the urban farming space and see’s food as the next ‘big thing’ as we approach a population of 9 billion on the planet. How do we support and feed so many people with new and sustainable food systems? A big question, opening a Green Lab in Bermondsey in a meanwhile property to explore this.
Our doors are still open.
As a team we continue to support the design and engineering process of ideas, projects and prototyping across London and Europe. We continue to support the development of other labs, EU funded work and we’re very happy to help you set, grow and become a sustainable proposition.