Nestled in the historic neighbourhood of Strathcona, Maker Labs is a creative co-working space that provides a burgeoning community with the tools, skills and space to bring ideas to life. I got speak with the man behind Makers Lab, Derek Gaw, for an insider look on how this maker space has grown to an operation with some 300 members operating in approximately 100 studios.
Makers Lab has evolved from Derek’s initial Laser Cutter Café, an experimental pop-up shop with 500 sq feet, to a 15 000 sq foot location on Kingsway and Main, to now a 26 000 sq feet warehouse in Strathcona. Members doing pretty much everything, plying their craft in: coffee roasting, leatherworking, boat building, soap making, skis, jewelery, sign making, bike trailer, electrical engineering, industrial design, architecture, fashion designers, pattern makers, woodworkers, upcyclers, set designers, marketing and so on.
For Derek, the most satisfying thing about operating Makers Labs is being able to show people what’s possible. When given access to tools and space, individuals are able to see the unlimited potential. They are able to have a concept and make it real with very little friction in between. It's taking an idea in the morning and having something made in the afternoon.
Uproot connected with Makers Lab to provide them with 140 board feet of Douglas Fir a few weeks ago. It’s exciting to be able to help this operation reduce their ecological footprint by providing avenues for their members to access reclaimed building material. The vision of being able to freely innovate and re-imagine what is possible is something that resonates with us.
There is a lot in store for Makers Lab in 2016. They plan to fill up the space, mature as a space and roll out fully functional metal shop. If you’re interested in seeing more of what they are making have a look at their Instagram feed here and be sure to visit their website to learn more!