The Makers Guild connected craftsmanship, digital personal fabrication and biotechnology.

Waag believes connecting instead of protecting ideas drives innovation. This is why the Maker Guild housed an Open Wetlab to connect craftsmanship and biotechnology with the strong tradition of open source practices in the Fablab. Just like the buildings residents in the 17th century, who acknowledged the power of fusing habitat of the pioneering stonemasons, blacksmith, painters and surgeon guilds.

It’s at this intersection of individual skills and joint vision, where the recombination of innovative ideas occur most frequently. Such an open-ended environment fosters designers, artists and scientists who make experimental and prototype solutions to urgent social challenges as well as high-quality products. 

Looking at nature, one clearly finds the largest variety of species in the most crowded and resource-rich environments. Coral reefs and rain forest are natural open innovation spaces, where fierce competition has generated extreme diversity, sustainability and energy-efficiency. While isolated resource-poor, polluted deserts are only inhabited by few, dominant species. 

Industrialization has driven Western society towards a metaphorical desert, with only few dominant market players. The Makers Guild aimed to counter this by establishing a safe haven for the incubation of innovation. It provided a rapid evolving shelter from the raging market tornadoes, before launching its offspring into the wild ocean.

The Makers Guild re-introduced manual, labour intensive craftsmanship as a supplement to the digital fabrication practices of the Fablab. It researched traditional crafts and combined them with digital fabrication.

The Open Wetlab is a community laboratory for amateurs and professionals in design, art and science. It puts the tools of modern biotechnology, such as biological engineering and bio-informatics in the hands of those seeking new applications and meaning for it.

Makers Guild in the Waag is made possible by a subsidy from the Creative Industries Fund NL.

Project duration

21 Jun 2013 - 21 Jun 2015