30 April 2014
Story by Charlotte Ackemar
Photographs by Charlotte Ackemar & Filippa Malmegård
Edited by Amy Pettifer
Stockholm Makerspace is like a labyrinth. You bow your head to duck under brick arches, passing one industrious looking room after another, with facilities for screen-printing, textiles, sewing, woodwork, metalwork, 3D printing, electronics...
It was only a year ago that this particular Makerspace moved into its current location - a 283 square meter basement located right in the city center. "We looked at over a hundred places before we found this one," says Erik Cederberg, one of the founders of the project. "It's a bit expensive but it's big, central and fills all the safety requirements that come with the work we do. We wouldn't have been able to do it if it wasn't for the crowdfunding we had in the beginning and all the members who really needed and believed in a place like this."
Stockholm Makerspace is a non-profit organization - the first of its kind in the city - created by a mixed group of passionate people, including software engineers, programmers, graphic designers and art students. Their shared vision was to create a location where people with common interests in computer technology, science and digital art (among many other realms) could meet, socialize and collaborate. The idea for a physical Makerspace (also known as a hackerspace or hack-lab) grew from a forum on the net in January 2012, later becoming a regular meeting with discussion around how best to spread awareness of the `maker movement` and to connect with more, like-minded people.
What is striking is all the equipment they have. "When it was clear that we had the space, I drove a big van to a bankruptcy auction outside Stockholm and came home with 10 dismantled tables that were perfect for our studio," says Erik. A lot of the equipment is acquired at auctions and the rest is brought here by the members of SMS, in order to serve their various projects. Erik, for example, is currently working on computerizing an old CNC milling machine, making it possible to create intricate designs in metal from a 3D file on a USB stick.
This is one of the key reasons why SMS began - to make it possible for creative people to share knowledge, skills and resources. Workshops regularly take place, with recent events including Jon Jönsson from Teenage Engineering speaking about the genus of the OP-1, a toy-like synth with hidden complexities; Pete Lomas from Raspberry Pi sharing the story behind their tiny, single board computer designed to teach computer skills in schools; and Techjunta a technology workshop based around kit building especially for Geek Girls.
Stockholm Makerspace is alive with conversations about new equipment and ideas in progress; it was easy to see the how quickly the project was growing and developing through collaborative thinking. For some this place is a retreat - a place to take a break from their jobs and everyday lives. But whether they come regularly or for just a couple of hours each month, SMS provides a place to pursue interests that date back to childhood and to indulge in a mutual fascination with the way things work.
Stockholm Makerspace is located at;
Wallingatan 12, 111 60 Stockholm
Find out more about their projects at www.makerspace.se