LABoral links up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop its Digital Fabrication Laboratory

El Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial is incorporated into the Worldwide Network of Fab Labs after signing an agreement with the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), promoter of the first digital production centre created in Spain

Published: Mar 02, 2012
LABoral  links up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop its Digital Fabrication Laboratory

A visit to the fabLAB Asturias. Photo: LABoral/Sergio Redruello

LABoral has linked up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to foster and develop its Digital Fabrication Laboratory, fabLAB Asturias, opened in December 2010 at the Centre of Art and Industrial Creation, with the financial support of Alcoa. Additionally, and through the signing of an agreement with the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), which promoted the first digital production centre created in Spain, the Centre in Gijón has been incorporated into the Worldwide Network of Fab Labs. This twofold collaboration came to fruition this Friday 2nd March in the signing of an agreement with the representative of this prestigious American academic and research body in Spain, the Institut d´Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya (IAAC) [Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia], in the presence of the head of the international programme for MIT, Sherry Lassiter, and entails the incorporation of the Art Centre into a technological network of global excellence.

fabLAB ASTURIAS is a space for research, training and production using advanced digital fabrication technology/machinery to create real and virtual prototypes. Equipped with digital fabrication machines, this lab offers consultancy, individual and collective production tools, courses and workshops. LABoral’s fabLAB serves as a resource centre at the service of research, development and innovation within the Centre of Art and Industrial Creation. It is available to the local artistic and creative community, international artists and researchers, architects and designers, business people and entrepreneurs, educational professionals and the school and university population.  

The uniqueness of fabLAB Asturias stems from the fact that it is located in a creative context, in the same way as LABoral. The other Spanish fablabs belonging to the network are found within architecture schools (this is the case of fablab Barcelona –whose brand is registered in Spain and with which the Agreement is signed– and the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia; and of fablab Seville) or in a seedbed of companies or institution that fosters entrepreneurship (as is the case of Bermeo and León).

The agreement has been signed by the President of the Board of Patrons of the Fundación la Laboral [the Laboral Foundation] and the Minister for Culture of the Principality of Asturias, Emilio Marcos Vallaure, and the Director of IAAC, Antoni Nicolau. Also present at the event were Sherry Lassiter, Programme Manager of the MIT Fab Labs worldwide network, and the Mayoress of  Gijón, Carmen Moriyón, who also laid down their signatures at a ceremony that was attended by representatives from the  Parque Científico y Tecnológico de Gijón [Gijón Technological Park] and other instituciones including clusterTic Asturias, Prodintec, Fundación Itma, Fundación CETEMAS, Club Asturiano de la Innovación, Club de Empresas de Turismo de Negocios de Asturias, Convention Bureau de Gijón, Escuela Superior de Arte del Principado de Asturias (ESAPA) and Escuela de Artes y Oficios in Oviedo.

According to the agreement, IAAC will be committed to driving initiatives for new laboratories in Spain, in coordination with MIT, and to collaborating in staff training through short-, medium- and long-term educational programmes such as: Fab Boot Camp, Fab Academy and research programmes, at a national and international level.

For its part, LABoral is required to comply with Fab Charter, a document regulating the functioning of all the digital fabrication laboratories in the world, and establish the basic practices of these, as well as having the necessary technological equipment. Also, the Centre of Art and Industrial Creation will attend the meetings programmed by the world network of Fab Labs, known as Fab Conferences; it will participate in these activities planned by the international and Spanish network of these laboratories with the aim of boosting the Fab Lab programme through educational projects such as FabBootCamp, Fab Academy and special workshops; and will communicate the activities developed within the laboratory to the Fab Labs network.

Fab Labs function as a people’s network, sharing knowledge and processes through video conference systems and the Internet. Currently, there are around 50 Fab Labs in 23 countries around the world, that ranging from the centre in Boston to rural India, or the Arctic Circle in Norway.

This agreement firmly sets the Centre of Art and Industrial Creation in terms of its production as a standard of excellence, and places it in an environment of international creativity and new productive models which support its activity.

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