Plymouth College of Art launch international Fab Lab project Made@EU

Plymouth College of Art are set to launch an exciting European Fab Lab project in collaboration with prestigious organisations in Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Budapest.

The Made@EU project will begin with a first call for proposals, inviting emerging designers and creative talent to put forward their innovative ideas for enhancing their practice utilising facilities in Digital Fabrication Laboratories, otherwise known as Fab Labs.

The partner organisations for the project are ENSCI Les Ateliers, Paris – a leading design school – and IAAC, Barcelona, one of the leading Digital Fabrication Laboratories in the worldwide network of Fab Labs. PCA have also gained support from Waag society and Fab Lab Budapest.

The project will involve a diverse programme of workshops and residency programmes creating opportunities for artists and designers to explore and exchange ideas across borders.

The first of which will be a five-day intensive ‘hands-on’ introduction to 3-D digital fabrication systems for professional practitioners to be run from the 9th to the 13th February 2015.

The brand new Fab Lab at the college offers Made@EU project participants the unique opportunity to explore high end technologies and in addition, cross over into the new £8m Craft, Design and Fabrication workshops.

“FabLab Plymouth extends the rich and diverse eco-system of technologies, materials, processes, practices and possibilities in making that Plymouth College of Art is developing in the heart of our City.

“We have an active agenda for business and community access and curriculum innovation, so I’m looking forward to the extraordinary things that will arise from the interaction of traditional technologies with new digital fabrication. Watch this space!” says Principal, Professor Andrew Brewerton

It is a free open access community resource fully equipped with a 3D scanner, laser cutter, 3 CNC milling machines, CNC router, 3D colour printer and vinyl cutter.

The key principle across the international network is to provide the general public, entrepreneurs and inventors with open access to state-of-the art, digital equipment.

Ian Hankey, FabLab Plymouth Manager, is eager to invite project participants into the new space, “Made@EU participants will be welcomed into the college and supported so that they can reach their full potential in FabLab Plymouth.

“With 20 years’ experience in traditional crafts combined with thorough training in Fab Lab technologies, my interests lie in facilitating and exploring the possibilities of what can be achieved when mixing traditional craft with new technologies.

“Sharing my knowledge and skills to support cross border technical development to enhance and develop their projects is a very exciting prospect.”

Rumours of the Made@EU Project has stimulated curiosity amongst businesses and the local creative community, who are eager to share knowledge and skills across borders and access the latest, cutting edge 2D and 3D technology in Europe.

Tim Mitchell of Mitchell Architects Ltd commented on the project, “Facilitating local businesses with the technology and the all-important technical expertise to develop, construct, and present ideas will be invaluable within increasingly hi-tech industries.

“In addition, this FabLab has the potential to empower local entrepreneurs, which can in turn only enhance the competitive potential of businesses in Plymouth and across the EU.”

Around the world people in Fab Labs are working on new developments in a range of areas: IT, wind-powered turbines, agriculture, healthcare, aeronautics and design products. Both the Made@EU project partners and the college are eager to launch the project imminently, as the potential for invention and innovation is endless.