What is a Fab Lab?
A Fab Lab is a platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, to mentor, to invent. A Fab Lab is a digital prototyping space providing stimulus for local creativity.
To be involved with a Fab Lab means connecting to a global community of learners, educators, technologists, researchers, designers, makers and innovators - a knowledge sharing network that spans 80+ countries. As all Fab Labs share common tools and processes, the global network is a distributed laboratory for research and invention.
What is Fab Lab Wgtn?
Situated within the School of Design, Fab Lab Wgtn is part of Massey University Wellington’s Creative Campus. Opened in 2012 during the eighth global Fab conference, Fab Lab Wgtn quickly extended its expertise and facilities to initiate and support many design research projects locally and around the world.
The core creative staff consist of Wendy Neale and Craig Hobern, who are joined by a diverse range of designers and practitioners for different projects.
Wendy is the Director of Fab Lab Wgtn. She focuses on developing resilience, reciprocity and connections between diverse communities on a local and global level. With a digital and traditional craft-based design practice, Wendy designs and creates meaningful objects from salvaged materials and obsolete furniture.
Craig is a digital media designer with a background in embedded electronics. He is passionate about interactive and mixed media works, open source design projects and about collaborating with others on new adventures with digital and CNC processes.
Why We Do It
We believe that resilience is essential in these exponentially changing times, and that it is built through hands-on learning in global open design ecosystems.
What does resilience mean to us?
We are striving towards adaptability through economic, environmental and technological changes. We are inquisitive and love exploring ways to become more open, self-sustaining and circular in our workflows and processes.
What does hands-on experimentation mean to us?
We believe in learning by doing. The first time you make anything, it is an experiment for you. Experiments serve two purposes - they allow you to explore ideas, taking you in directions you aren’t expecting, and creating an environment where you can analyse the results and take projects in the direction indicated. Through encouraging curiosity and experimentation, we all gain deeper insight and appreciation for how things work (and don’t work). We focus on providing a collaborative space where you can work with others to propose ideas and develop solutions using digital fabrication tools.
Why is lifelong learning important?
As part of the College of Creative Arts at Massey University, we are committed to providing access and education to creative practitioners exploring the new areas of Open Design and digital fabrication. Learning does not stop when you finish school. We welcome people from all walks of life, cultural and educational backgrounds, to come and play!
How We Can Work Together
Fab Lab Wgtn is part of a global open design ecosystem that brings artists, architects, educators, scientists, makers, designers and engineers together to deepen our understanding of the physical world around us from the macro to the micro. Ways we do this include:
Product Development & Production
- Design and discovery
- Research and testing materials and tools
- Explore and utilise appropriate materials and tools
- Produce prototype
- Produce and finish final product
Open Design Facilitation & Consultation
- Define project needs and objectives
- Research and test materials, machines and workflows
- Project planning and management
- Establish workflow and communication channels
- Research and establish open source documentation platforms and protocols appropriate to your project
Digital Fabrication Education
- Classes and workshops
- Professional development & team building workshops
- Fab Academy
- Integrate open design principles and practices into your research practice
- Apply new tools and techniques into your practice
- Collaborate on the exploration of your project
- Review and provide feedback on product sketches
- Support the design of digital design files
- Research and test materials and tools
- Recommend and utilise appropriate materials and tools
- Produce product prototype
- Iterate and refine
We love projects that reflect our core values. Please contact us if you have a project that you would like to collaborate on.
Work With Us
We’re building a diverse team of creative practitioners who are passionate about learning through making. Working at Fab Lab Wgtn provides you with an opportunity to learn from a variety of creative practices from furniture to spatial design, DIY bio-hacking to textiles, through hands-on experience.
Our staff members balance their time between supporting Massey University staff and design students with their projects, and leading or executing a variety of local and global research open design projects.
We’re creating a lab culture that is collaborative and self-organising. We achieve this by nurturing trust and mutual respect in our lab, enabling our staff, collaborators, students and clients to create in an encouraging and supportive atmosphere.
Everyone is a Wizard
Digital fabrication can be an intimidating term. But the truth is, it’s a relatively new field, and everyone has to start somewhere. Whether your background is in visual communications, gardening or engineering - we believe that everyone is a wizard at something. By recognising and celebrating each other’s different areas of expertise, we can learn more from each other.
No one is an island at Fab Lab Wgtn. We openly and willingly help each other come up with ideas, research solutions and solve problems. Every challenge is an opportunity for us to expand our collective experience, and each successful project is a demonstration of our collective efforts.
Take care of each other
It’s easy to get caught up with the fun and excitement of making, and lose sight of the very real dangers that exist in the lab environment. Whenever you’re in the lab, please concentrate on best practice. Look after yourself, others around you & the overall environment.
If you don’t understand, say so
Misunderstandings in the lab can lead to frustration, wasted time, money, and sometimes danger. We don’t believe there’s ever a stupid question. We want you to have the answers because next time someone asks, you’ll be the one sharing the knowledge.
We do not currently have any job opportunities available, but there are many other ways in which you can be involved, please see here