Announcing Makers Make


Makers Make

As my time in Buenos Aires comes to a close, it’s time to shine a little light on a thing I’ve been working on with the brilliant Natasha Carolan:

We just started a company called Makers Make. The idea is simple: We believe that making should be easier.

How we work towards that goal is explained – at least in rough strokes – over on the new website, makersmake.net.

Feel free to poke around the (still pretty scarce) site and let me know if you find any loose ends (there are many).

Suffice to say for now that it’s an incredibly exciting space as we get to the point where there’s enough production capacity around to open up industrial 3D printers to external designers – or so we think. This, in turn, means that a whole new league of designers will emerge that takes advantage of new production capacities. We don’t just want to 3D-print tchotchkes, but take it to the next level by allowing specifically for hybrid designs. Think 3D print plus X.

A few personal notes, after all this is my personal blog:

Natasha and I approach this as a project to grow organically, starting off doing this as a side-project. This also means that of course I’ll keep working on all my client projects, as well the major side projects – namely The Alpine Review and UIKonf – as well as a couple that are still in various stages of prototyping. The company is registered in London – we shift stuff (including ourselves and our attention) between London and Berlin as we need it, and if things work out as we hope we’ll take it to other places as well.

For now, we’re at a very early stage and things are still pretty fluid, the way I like it until more formal structures emerge.

Also, a big, big thank you – not just to Natasha, but also to Alexandra, Alice, Ronen and all the others who’ve shared their insights and encouragement.

Exciting times!

Announcing the Cognitive Cities Conference


Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Update: New date for Cognitive Cities Conference is 26/27 February 2011 (details).

A few friends and I are planning a conference this fall. Please allow me to cross-post from the Cognitive Cities blog:

Our future will be played out in cities. The projections tell us that our planet will resemble some very familiar fictional fantasies: 75% of the global population will be living by 2050 in cities or mega cities. Between slums and mass poverty on one hand and eco-sustainable living on the other hand, there will be both tough problems to solve and exciting visions to realize. We are at a point in time where the paths are set for the future of cities. The Cognitive Cities Conference wants to pick up the vibrant global conversation about the future of cities and bring it to Germany. By bringing bright minds with different perspectives together, it is our ambition to enable not only an in-depth exchange about the current state of affairs, but also to foster new projects. We believe that collaboration and diversity lead to the best results. We see the Cognitive Cities Conference as a platform for exchange and mutual inspiration and invite urban planners, designers, technology geeks, environmental experts, public officials, urban gardening enthusiasts and cultural influencers to be part of the conversation. We can only make our cities more liveable if we work together to improve them. The format of the conference will be a combination of lightning talks and workshop style sessions. Participants will share ideas, thoughts and challenges based on their diverse backgrounds, thus presenting different perspectives and approaches to the challenges we share. We are planning a one track only event, with the option for break-out sessions at any time. Where and when? Cognitive Cities Conference 02./03. October 2010 Coworking Cologne Who is Cognitive Cities for? We believe that diversity is essential for mutual inspiration. Cognitive Cities is aimed at designers, architects, futurists, urban planners, web geeks, activists, urban dwellers, you name it. If you are interested in the future of your city, you are most welcome. Who is behind Cognitive Cities Conference? Axel Quack, Igor Schwarzmann, Johannes Kleske, Markus Reuter, Martin Spindler, Peter Bihr, Welf Kirschner. Powered by CognitiveCities.com. Cognitive Cities is organized on a non-profit basis. We will provide more details and a dedicated link soon.

Until we have a site up, please refer to the original post.

For us, the idea behind Cognitive Cities isn’t just focused on urban planning.

That’s very important, as I’d like to stress that we hope to touch on other fields that are just as relevant to living in a city: think smart homes, smart grids, smart meters. Think augmented reality, Spime, sensors, cell phones, geo-tagging. Think open data. Think transportation, car sharing, intelligent trip planning. (Jetpacks, anyone?) Think reclaiming your city bottom-up. Think street art and locative art. Think green living and rooftop gardens and urban gardening. All of these, and many more, will influence our lives in the city. And all of them should be represented at our conference.

Also, I’d like to briefly put this in context: I know this all is, so far, pretty vague. We’ll get more concrete soon. Until then, we’ll be getting in touch with a first batch of potential speakers and sponsors to cover basic costs and, hopefully, some travel grants for speakers or guests who couldn’t come otherwise. We got to this event via atoms&bits, so there’s a connection here too. Props and thanks to Martin Spindler for getting the ball rolling and getting me on board! Also, thanks to Axel for enabling us to use Coworking Cologne as our conference location. As always, having a location for an event always is a huge load off of our shoulders.

So while we’re setting up the basic infrastructure to organize an event, please feel free to get in touch. For the time being, the best way is to either leave a comment on the original post or here, or to drop any of us organizers a line directly. We’re all pretty easy to reach. (In my case, the contact form or Twitter.) Update: Email us at info@cognitivecities.com.

Thanks for the patience, and for spreading the word. We’re all really looking forward to this.

Update: Official hashtag is #cocities.

Image: Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II., a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from yakobusan’s photostream

[please ignore: design changes]


Just recently I’ve made a few changes to this blog’s design, but somehow wasn’t happy with the way it ended up. So again, I’m tweaking a little. For the next few days, the whole site is very likely to look somewhat deranged. My apologies for any inconveniences – once it’s done, it’ll be more fun.