Makerspaces and The Rise of the Maker Movement in Indiana

Axis Architecture Blog Post

Over the past few months, you might have caught wind of the latest buzzword in design, technology, and the intersection of the two – the Maker Movement. The Maker Movement refers generally to the inventors, designers, and technologists who are paving the way in the latest, contemporary wave of DIY culture. From artisanal craftspeople to computer hackers, this movement encompasses a wide range of creative individuals who identify as, simply, makers.

With the rise of the Maker Movement, there’s been a proportional rise in makerspaces around the country – community spaces with tools, technology, and resources for makers to create, design, and innovate. The same is true here in our state. Axis is currently working on several makerspace projects in Central Indiana that are in various stages of development.

“People want a space to be able to create things, use tools, and have a community with people who are like-minded and just as creative as they are,” said Ashley Lee, one of our associate principals and interior designers, who has witnessed the makerspace trend take off in Indiana first-hand.

 

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Similar to co-working spaces, the key aspect of what makes a makerspace unique and valuable to a city or town is the diverse and creative community it fosters there. “It’s important to foster peoples’ need to create and follow their passions,” said Ashley. “If you don’t have a physical space to do the thing you love to do, it’s going to be hard to keep doing it, or do it at all.”

In a growing city like Indianapolis, providing a space for organic creative collisions is essential to our progress in the arts, culture, design, and technology. New facilities like RUCKUS, a makerspace located in the Circle City Industrial Complex within Mass Ave’s Industrial Corridor, are already doing this well. By adding makerspaces to our local landscape, it shows that Indianapolis welcomes, embraces, and nurtures creative individuals and strives to be at the forefront of the Maker Movement.

“For Indianapolis, I think we’re getting more creative and out-of-the-box every day,” said Ashley. “It’s important that we keep going down that path.”

When it comes to designing a makerspace, flexibility and usability of the space are the most important factors. In order to make the most out of such a dynamic, multi-use space, our designers have to get creative in the way they map out furniture plans, work surfaces, walls and dividers, and the implementation of required technologies.

“The furniture oftentimes will be on castors so it can be reorganized into whatever the space needs it to be on a day-to-day basis,” said Ashley. “We also like to create walls on which people can write – movable dry erase boards or large sliding barn doors work well to divide up the space.”

The natural environment of a makerspace is, conveniently, right on-trend when it comes to the rustic, industrial look that many community spaces have been going after in recent years. Exposed concrete, reclaimed wood tables, and an overall warehouse-feel bring both durability and functionality to spaces that will inevitably endure heavy wear and tear over the years.

 

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At Axis, however, design always means more than just functionality, and the same is true for our latest makerspace project for a higher-education client. In order to create a workshop-ready space that also delivers its own sense of personality and character, we focus on several different elements of interior design that can really make a space shine.

“Color goes a long way,” said Ashley. “You can paint a punchy, vibrant accent wall as the backdrop to the entire space.” In addition to color, large-scale graphics and lighting are key features that can help give a space personality, and prevent it from falling into the stereotypical industrial-chic category. “We can create moods and a feeling within a space with some large-scale pendants that can add refinement to that industrial look with some glossy fixtures,” said Ashley. Overall, our goal with makerspaces is to give each space a personality and make it stand out.

As far as we can see, the Maker Movement isn’t slowing down anytime soon. With universities and corporations jumping on board to provide their students and employees with dedicated spaces to create and design, we’ll likely be seeing more makerspaces in the months and years to come. It’s exciting to see the spirit of innovation alive and well in the Maker Movement, and especially in our home state of Indiana. We’re thrilled to be able to provide spaces where creativity thrives and are eager to continue fueling our local makers.