“We either build the future we want, or become the victims of it.”
As Director of Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Tomás Diez constantly breaks the rules when it comes to education, business, science, urbanism, farming, environmentalism, design, and housing… you name it. In this AtlasChart, the Venezuelan digital fabrication urbanist opens up about projects in which he’s had firsthand experience: “not only tech wonders done in Silicon Valley”. And there are a lot.
From 3D printing prosthetics in conflict zones to a family restaurant you can download to eternal showers of the spotless mind, the surfer never stays still – which is why this Top 5 became a Top 9.
“Aquapioneers wants to show Barcelona that it’s easy to harvest fish and grow food without soil. I love the fact that their business model is not based on selling a lot of aquaponics kits, but community development and social interaction. Beyond even the technology involved I love the passion of Guillaume and Loic. We need to support these kind of kind obsessions.”
“Bees keep ecosystems connected, they transport information and nutrients between plants in order to give us more than 30% of the food we humans eat. If they disappear we are lost! Open Source Beehives is trying to understand what is killing bees in a massive citizen science experiment and by enabling anyone to start beekeeping in their cities. They even have a new sensor device to monitor bees and help them to be happier.”
⚡3. Leka Restaurant
“Do you know what an open source restaurant is? You can download the designs, the menu’s recipes, nutritional advice and even the staff outfits. With Leka we have proved that it is possible to update the concept of a ‘family restaurant’ in the industrial neighbourhood of Poblenou, which is known as the ‘Maker District‘. This restaurant was designed and manufactured with everything coming from less that 1 kilometre away. In fact, Fab Lab Barcelona is three blocks from it. Beyond that, I love Leka because of the love the owners and staff put into what they do. I am even learning Chinese with the cook Tino, while I am teaching him English!”
⚡4. Fab City
“At IAAC we’re working on opening Fab Labs in the hearts of cities, towns and villages to build a more sustainable and inhabitable new world through digital fabrication makerspaces. People will be able to grow and make almost anything. I’m coordinating this global team together with Neil Gershenfeld, Director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, and Chief Architect Vicente Guallart. “
“These data-collecting drones are used for environmental mapping. Developed by Barcelona-based studio Noumena, N-E-R-O is building advanced features to map for landscape and architecture research, as well as farming.”
“We are working with the ROW3D team to address the challenge of refugee camps to provide the tools, training and skills to teach people how to digitally fabricate the things they need – such as low cost prosthetics.”
“This can change the whole world of Facebook and Google. Our personal data trails have become large. Ethos is about future technology for a distributed internet (a real one) and the creation of a new economy with personal data. The blockchain is not only about Ethereum.”
⚡8. The Green School
“We need to align nature and technology if we want to survive. The Green School is one of the key places in the world that does this, together with the Green Fab Lab in Barcelona. This friendly place harnesses new technologies and could transform how we see education and the roles of our kids in society.”
“I know you said choose five projects, but I couldn’t! This last project is from Helsinki, Finland is one of the great projects at POC21, an innovation camp in a French castle that tackles climate change issues through alternatives to a destructive consumer culture. The network of 100+ “eco-geeks” have been called “sustainable lifestyle innovators”. I like this project because they want to make this recycling and filtering shower system available in refugee camps and emergency scenarios – and because I want to take infinite showers without feeling guilty!”
Check out these other projects that have come out of Fab Lab Barcelona in 10 projects that change everything. Feel like a Fab fool or simply want to know more about their latest global projects? Enjoy our glossary of the Fab world!
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