With the rapid growth of technology, access to information and platforms for worldwide communication has become instantaneous and incredibly simple. It allows us to dream bigger and conceive of possibilities never previously imaginable. Where it begins to get tricky is having the actual tools and real world environment to transform ideas into physical creations. This is where Makerspace comes in.
Makerspace - photo by Brandon Stanley
In March of 2012, Macarena (Maca) Pola and Tiburcio de la Corocova opened a communal workshop/office/creative playground for inventors, artists and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to use in turning their ideas into reality. Occupying the southern corner of Factoria Italia, in Barrio Italia, they have amassed an impressive supply of high-tech tools and there is now a growing number of people putting them to good use daily. Partly Tiburcio’s own constantly growing collection, Makerspace contains everything from 3D printers and laser cutters to jigsaws and welding equipment.
Beyond offering a physical place and all the tools to create, Makerspace also emphasizes the sharing of ideas and information. The dissemination of knowledge is an important aspect and Maca stresses that "there is a community of people who want to share and who know all of these things most people don't." Sure, you could join Makerspace and keep to yourself, but you will find that most people take advantage of everything around them, whether it’s the fancy toys or the bright individuals working right next to them.
Macarena Pola - photo by Brandon Stanley
From the large communal tables to the relaxation corner with vintage arcade games and a movie projector "it's impossible not to talk, share and interact," says Maca. It's a place not just to take advantage of high-tech tools you'd be hard pressed to gain access to anywhere else in Chile, but to network and share knowledge and ideas with a group of people who are there because they love to create and make things happen. Putting that many creative, motivated individuals in a workshop full of all the tools they need to turn their ideas into a reality and you are bound to get some pretty amazing results.
Makerspace doesn’t only serve as a place for people who already have ideas, they also offer a constantly evolving schedule of workshops that teach anything from toy production and video game programming to Morphological design. They also have weekly classes to ensure all the members can operate laser cutters and 3D printers without losing a finger or two. Some of their workshops, lead by international personalities, even draw students from around the world to participate. Luis de la Parra and Daniel Camiro, architects/designers from Mexico, have lead workshops throughout South America and recently held their first, of hopefully many, classes here at Makerspace.
Daniel Camiro and Luis de la Parra - photo by Brandon Stanley
If Makerspace sounds a little intimidating with it's complicated tools and group of brilliant creators, don't worry, it's not. It is a rapidly growing community of designers, artists, engineers, entrepreneurs and random individuals who are looking for communal office space and enriching conversations in an inspiring environment. There are even groups of kids as young as 12 years old working on projects such as solar powered cars and robots for international competitions.
Maca believes that Makerspace is more about "testing a hypothesis" than running a business. In Chile, and South America in general, "there are a lot of people who are creative, have ideas, and are entrepreneurs, but don't have a space to work in." The idea is to help a new generation of individuals realize that their ideas and dreams are attainable by showing that there aren’t as many mind-boggling hurdles to jump over as you may think. With Makerspace, prototyping, micro-manufacturing, contributing to the advancement of current technologies or simply learning something new, has never been so easy.
photo by Brandon Stanley
Address: Av. Italia 850A (at Francisco Bilbao) The easiest way here is taking the Green line metro(L5) to Parque Bustamante and walking 5 blocks east to Av Italia.