Fab Lab

While we were in Barcelona recently, visiting the IAAC Barcelona Fab Lab, we also visited (actually, we stayed there) the Valldaura Green Fab Lab and Sustainable Living Research hub in the Collserola Nature Park, north-west of Barcelona.

Valldaura Self Sufficient Labs is a demonstration site aimed at showing the possibilities of developing technologies and processes in order to sustainably produce energy and food from the land using only the natural resources available.

Scroll down this page for a video, and for sub-titles to the video (it’s in Spanish).  There’s a lot more information on their Goteo crowdfunding page.

If your Spanish isn’t up to the captions in the video, here are some translations:

Queremos aprender de la naturaleza lo que nunca debimos olvidar

We want to learn from nature that which we should never forget

Las ciudades nos gustan

We like cities

Barcelona nos gusta

We like Barcelona

Pero queremos imaginar un nuevo futuro para las ciudades

But we need to imagine a new future for our cities

Para ello hemos vuelta a la naturaleza, para aprender de ella

For this we return to nature, to learn from it

Queremos hacer laboratorios para una vida auto-suficiente

We want to have laboratories to explore self-sufficient living

Un lugar donde hacer todo lo que se necesita

para la vida del humano de la forma más eficiente

A place to make all that is neededfor human life, in the most efficient way

Aprender de la naturaleza para actuar en el mundo de forme natural

Learning from nature in order to to act naturally in the world.

Valldaura es una finca fundada por los monjes del Cister en 1150,

que en la Edad Media fue un palacio real

Valldaura, a farm founded by Cistercian monks in 1150, which was in the Middle Ages, a royal palace

Fue una finca agrícola a finales del siglo XIX cuando Barcelona se expandía

It was an agricultural farm in the late nineteenth century when Barcelona was expanding

Y ahora esta en el centro del Parque Natural de Collserola

And now it is in the centre of the Collserola Natural Park

Queremos convertida en un centro de investigación con laboratorios

donde re-aprender el conocimiento ancestral de la naturaleza

y conectarla con la nuevas tecnologías digitales

We want to convert is into a centre of investigation, with laboratorieswhere we can relearn ancestral knowledge of natureand connecting with the new digital technologies

Queremos relacionar la naturaleza, la tecnología y el ser humano

We are reconnecting nature, technology and humanity

Valldaura tendrá un Food Lab donde producir comida de forma orgánica

Valldaura will have a Food Lab, producing organic food

Un Energy Lab donde aprender a hacer energía con biomasa, con el sol y con el viento

An Energy Lab where we can learn to make energy from biomass, the sun and the wind

Y un Green Fab Lab donde hacer casi de todo con materiales naturales

And a Green Fab Lab where do almost anything with natural materials

Madera, barro y piedra

Wood, clay and stone

Donde aprender a reciclar los materiales

Where we can learn to recycle materials

Donde las personas puedan aprender unas de otras

Where people can learn from each other

Valldaura es una comunidad abierta, independiente y global donde inventar el futuro

Valldaura is an open, independent and global community where we are inventing the future

Donde impulsar la re-naturalización de las ciudades

Where we are driving the renaturalization of the cities

Tu eres parte de esta historia

You are part of this story

I have made a map of every Fab Lab, Makerspace, Hackerspace and other similar space where you can go and make things, in the UK.  If you click on the markers you will get information about that space.  If your space isn’t there, scroll right in (it may be hidden under another marker).

If it’s still not there, let me know and I’ll add it.  Click the picture of the map, below, to go to the map proper (in the days of good old Google maps, before it got all posh, I knew how to embed my own maps, but I haven’t yet sussed it in the latest version !)


I recently heard about a new “Fab” idea from Tokyo: the Fab Cafe.  Think Internet Cafe with a laser cutter and a 3D printer (and latte!)

A traditional Fab Lab frequently has the air of an engineering shop; the Fab Cafe seems to have a more artistically creative feel. I imagine that a Fab Cafe and a Fab Lab could co-exist quite happily in the same town, with artists becoming more interested in making their art interactive … or just active.

Here are just a few of the things people have made there:

You can see their gallery by clicking on any of the above pictures, or by clicking this link.  To really get blown away by all the (very creative) stuff that they have done, click the big picture below, and then go exploring!

What Did You Fab Today

Here’s what they say about themselves (it’s easier to read here!)

What is FabCafe?

“FAB” is the “craftsmanship revolution” movement spreading throughout the world. The letters “FAB” contain the meaning of both “FABrication (craftsmanship)”, unconfined by mass production and market theory, and “FABulous (pleasant, wonderful)” within them, and this network has already expanded to over 50 countries in over 250 places throughout the world (as of April, 2013).  FabCafe was created in Tokyo’s hot city, Shibuya, as a place to expand the “FAB” spirit in a fun, delicious, easy to understand, and open way. In this café, where people gather, meet, and connect, there are 3D printers and other craftsmanship devices representative of the times. There is the meeting of talent and creative collaboration that is only born from open places. We believe that the artists born from these places, artists that exceed imagination, will change the craftsmanship of the next generation. This uniqueness has begun attracting supporters from across oceans, and the second and third FabCafe’s are planned for Taiwan, in May, 2013, and Europe respectively. FabCafe is different from FabLab activities.

FabCafe, started in 2002, is a new model of activity that was born through inspiration from FabLab’s worldwide activities. Although they both share the large vision to create the future of craftsmanship, FabCafe’s organizational structure, its main bodies, business model, and profit structure are all independent. The father of the FAB movement, Professor Neil Gershenfeld of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and his ideas are both things that we continue to respect. However, FabCafe’s activities, while coordinating effectively with FabLab, aim to create a vision of the future in a way different from FabLab’s. As it maintains its entry roles, including the ideas of “everyday creator visits” and “anyone can casually participate”, FabCafe accomplishes its aims by creating a new marketplace based on products born actively within it. This marketplace develops new talent, and accelerates the flow of new craftsmanship. Fab café carries out activities as a device to create this cycle.

What is FabCafe.com?

Our site, FabCafe.com, functions as a hub for information unfolding to the world from FabCafe base areas, as well as a shared marketplace which brings together real and data products. The data and products of creators from various countries are uploaded onto this site and shared with people across the world. In addition, the creators of the world can connect here, and give birth to new collaboration products. We provide a place for a new kind of craftsmanship that cannot be born from the existing production industry, connecting people and creativity.

The first Fab Cafe is in Tokyo: will there be one near you any time soon?