FabCafe: The Creative Innovation Network

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Salon 1 (Marriott Wardman Park)
Aki Kawana, Loftwork, Tokyo, Japan
This presentation is to explore the whys of the following question: why making matters to people in Japan? 
In the presentation, I would like to introduce what Loftwork, a creative agency based out of Tokyo, has been experimenting for the last 15 years with various creative talents around the world to approach the question. 
Loftwork originally started from creating an online platform for creatives across the globe to openly share their portfolio and connect with each other through the language of design. It has now 25,000+ users on the platform globally and still expanding. During the course of our work, we have been bringing Japanese society unique thoughts and ideas from creatives' point of view, and have been experimenting various approaches to impact the society by design and technology. 
FabCafe is a place where users enjoy digital fabrication while drinking coffee. The fun experiment started in 2012 to test out 3D printers and laser cutter machines within creative community in Tokyo and find out what we can do with those tools. The unique business model of FabCafe encouraged people in other cities to create their own and now stores are located in Tokyo, Kyoto, Taipei, Bangkok, Barcelona and Toulouse, and this year Singapore and several cities in the US are in the scope. During the experiment of building communities of creatives via cafe, we also started a global creative award “YouFab" since 2012 and last year we received 152 works from 26 different countries. 
Our challenges now have been expanding to capture traditional craftsmanship through digital and fabrication technologies. We founded a new company in a city called Hida of Gifu prefecture, where rich forest resources helped locals to develop their own kumiki (wooden puzzle) techniques. Hidakuma, the company we founded, will be utilizing the assets of forestry and kumiki techniques in collaboration with the creative community across the globe. We seek to come up with new ideas that means something to people's life. We also created a space called MTRL in Tokyo and Kyoto, to intensively employ materials, connected devices and digital fabrications. 
In each challenge, we always expect the power of creatives and potentials of community synergies by collaboration. The presentation will include more details and visuals of what and how of these challenges, and hypothesis to the question of why making matters to people in Japan.