A Chat with NextFab

August 30, 2017 | DesignPhiladelphia

This year NextFab is bringing the creative community together with two events. 

NextFab Show and Tell

Friday, October 6, 2017 | 5 - 7 PM

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Community Market For Makers & Shakers

Saturday, October 14, 2017 | 12 - 5 PM

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Hello, fellow designers and fabricators! We’re thrilled to be a part of DesignPhiladelphia 2017.

As a makerspace, we are populated with members of all kinds. From enthusiasts to professionals, our members cover the entire spectrum of backgrounds and interests. Many of our first-time, novice makers are understandably thrilled when they 3D-print their first file that they’ve downloaded from Thingiverse or Instructables. But our spaces really come alive when our seasoned designers adeptly combine mediums through the use of our wood shops, metal shops, electronics studios, laser cutting studios, and more. The end results are oftentimes magical.

A little over a year ago, we began celebrating our inspired creatives through a series of events that we call NextFab Design Talks. These are casual conversations with inventors, artists and designers that move fluidly through philosophy, inspiration, and invention. They range from interview style queries to lengthy solo presentations and hands-on demonstrations — always in a friendly and engaging atmosphere. Featured guests have included Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown, furniture designer and architect Ric Allison, and sculptor Miguel Antonio Horn.

What does design mean to you and how does your event express it?

Design is the foundation of built work. As a makerspace network, we are obviously about making. Nothing gets made without design, however haphazard that may sometimes be. Our talks are focussed on design that is deliberate, engaged, and inspired. We want to influence and inspire our makers to be great designers. Sometimes we get caught up in the pace of technology and process; after all these machines are amazing! But we cannot lose sight of how each machine — from a 3D printer to a table saw — works for us, as an extension of our creativity. First be brilliant, then make brilliant things.

Playlights, Photo Cred Dickie Cox


What do you hope attendees take away from attending your event?

We hope that they walk out of the room with smiles and a ton of questions, and that they stay up all night thinking about it. We want them to see new possibilities and find an optimistic spark where they may not have known one could exist. We’ve had comments like, “My head just exploded!” We want that level of excitement and revelation. Most importantly we want the talks to resonate and be part of an extended conversation, one that we hope never ends.

What are two questions that you would like to ask your event participants?

Why do you do what you do? What is the essence of your work? Those questions are a great starting point and a good one to come back to as we reflect on our work.

What are some of the trends you see in design in Philadelphia?

Of course, we’re excited about advances made in various maker-related technologies. 3D printing technology is always advancing. Faster and larger prints may soon disrupt low-volume production and even the construction industry. However, we’re perhaps most excited about design thinking curriculums that are introducing user-centered efforts to solve problems at a system level. JeffDesign is bringing design thinking to medicine. PennDesign has also made some incredible progress in the field. 

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