The Made@EU project aims to bridge the “digital divide” that currently hinders the widespread use of digital fabrication knowledge and technologies in the European cultural and creative sectors, especially in the field of design, arts and crafts. Fab Lab Plymouth is uniquely positioned next to Plymouth College of Art’s craft and design workshop complex, creating the perfect setting to fuse traditional crafts with new technologies.
The project brought together five institutional partners from France, Spain, UK, Netherlands and Hungary and began with a series of intensive workshops, introducing digital 3D systems to artists, craftspeople and designer-makers from across Europe.
“The facilities at Plymouth College of Art are incredible, and the Fab Lab staff were incredibly patient, helpful and supportive.”— Phil Cuttance, a designer/maker from New Zealand
Working in partnership with École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI) Paris, Institut d’Architectura Avancada de Catalunya (IAAC) Barcelona, WAAG Society: Institute for Art Science & Technology in Amsterdam and FabLab in Budapest, we invited emerging designers and creative talent to put forward proposals for enhancing their practice utilising FabLab facilities, offering a number of subsidised residencies to give access to both Fab Lab Plymouth and Plymouth College of Art’s specialist traditional workshops.
Artists were enabled to develop projects that creatively investigated the merging of traditional crafts with 3D digital ‘maker’ technologies. Participants included Adriana Ionascu, Alfie Smith, Jack West, Laura Martinez, Mark von Rosenstiel, Matthew Bush and Phil Cuttance, Ludovic Mallegol and Annemie Maes.
The resulting work was showcased in an exhibition at The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, which featured sculpture, animated film, furniture and architectural models.
Phil Cuttance, a designer/maker from New Zealand who is based in London and participated in a residency at Plymouth College of Art as part of Made@EU, said, “The facilities at Plymouth College of Art are incredible, and the Fab Lab staff were incredibly patient, helpful and supportive.”
Hannah Harris, Director of Development at Plymouth College of Art, said, “The project is as much an exercise in exploring new technologies, materials and processes, as it is in making art works.
“Made@EU offered a unique opportunity to the resident artists to undertake an experiment with unknown outcomes in the reassuring setting of the Fab Lab, with full access to high end digital skills and equipment.
“This collaborative project has been beneficial for all parties, for the artists to develop new skills and to push the boundaries of the Fab Lab itself.
“The European dimension is incredibly important and exposes staff, students and artists to opportunities that would not otherwise be possible.”
Photos by Dom Moore.