Barcelona wants to be the world’s first Fab City

  • The 10th annual Fab Lab world congress is underway · Fab Festival is this weekend

Liz Castro
03.07.2014 - 11:10

La premsa lliure no la paga el govern, la paguen els lectors

Fes-te de VilaWeb, fem-nos lliures

FAB10 is so big and so revolutionary that it takes a while to have it all sink in. Indeed FAB10 is actually a conference, workshop series, fair, summercamp and cultural revolution all rolled into one. Its rather lofty objective is to change the whole paradigm from local design and foreign production to worldwide, opensource design and crucially, local production, preferably with recycled materials.

FAB10 takes place in the Barcelona Design Hub, just next to the Glòries Metro stop, in the Poble Nou section of Barcelona, which is also home to the @22 technology center and Barcelona Activa, the city government’s business greenhouse.

Neil Gershenfeld, the inventor of Fab Labs—or self-contained production centers where people can use 3D printers and laser cutters and other tools to produce virtually whatever they want—was on hand to speak, and to give Barcelona’s mayor Xavier Trias a tour of the event. In his remarks, he said, “You expect the city to provide electricity or clean water. This is a new notion of infrastructure, which is tools for invention. The idea is that anybody in Barcelona should be able to make anything. You can use it for education, for play, for business, for work, for all those purposes, but this ew notion of invention as part of the infrastructure of the city, Barcelona is really the world leader. It’s a new revolution that Barcelona is leading.”

In his remarks, Barcelona Mayor Xavier Trias said “I’m here to tell you that Barcelona will be the first Fab City in the world!” He also promised a renewably energy digital fabrication center in Barcelona in 2015. Sponsor Moritz Brewery Director Albert Castellón asked, “What’s a beer maker doing in a place like this?” His answer: “This is truly a revolution.” 

Of course, the foundation for Barcelona’s future is its children. Today 150 local kids began the Fab Kids section of the conference, in which they began learning to use the tools in the Super Fab Lab: 3D printers, computers for scanning and modeling, laser cutters. One group’s first project was to cut out and assemble the multiple parts for a cardboard 3D spider. Another group used wax and polymers to make molds and countermolds. Yet another group used a 3D scanner to digitize objects (or each other’s faces!), and then they printed out a model of that object on one of the available 3D printers.

“What we need to do is bring back productivity to the cities,” said Barcelona’s official architect, Vicente Guallart in remarks made to VilaWeb. “Barcelona has been an industrial city for many, many years. In the 90’s the model of the economy changed, and we thought we should design more and someone else should produce things, like China or India. But now we see that those places that are producing things are the places where the economy is growing.”

“What we are doing in Barcelona, first of all, is to collaborate with any kind of entrepreneur or company that wants to start companies here. We are creating a network of public athenaeums of fabrication where everone will be able to access the technology that will allow them to produce nearly anything,” Guallart continued.

The Fab Festival this Saturday and Sunday features a number of workshops and events to both inspire creativity and provide hands-on instruction with 3D printers, laser cutters, arduino boards, and more. It is open to the public.


La premsa lliure no la paga el govern. La paguem els lectors.

Fes-te de VilaWeb, fem-nos lliures.

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