Charlie Banthorpe


Charlie Banthorpe



Charlie is a designer and engineer with a background in making big things for construction.

Now Head Maker at Aalto Fablab in Helsinki, he helps students, local businesses and community members to solve all sorts of problems using Digital Fabrication techniques.

How did you end up joining the #maker movement?
I first came along to an open day at Aalto Fablab to make myself a kitchen table because I didn't want to do the easy (and boring) thing and buy one from Ikea. So, I learnt to work with the CNC router and started showing others how it works too. Soon after that I was asked to teach at the Fablab and now making is just what I do!

What do you most value in the innovation/maker environment?
The power to see a problem with something, make a change, and make it the way you think it should be.

What’s the maker movement outlook in your country?
Grass-roots and technology innovation seems to be strong in Finland. We have a new city library on the way which will include a big makerspace for the local community. There are also now two Fab Labs in Finland (Aalto in Helsinki and Oulu to the north) with a third on it's way in Tampere.

In your opinion, what features in your city/destination/country is more appealing to an innovation-oriented crowd?
The strong design, technology and startup cultures around Helsinki and a very creative student community seem to make Helsinki a great place for innovation to thrive.

You seem to have been able to create such a nurturing environment around your FabLab/makerspace/hackerspace in (your country). What does your audience look like? Who do you mainly target – students, inventors, or… ?
As part of Aalto University, most of our community are students and researchers from Arts, Design and Media fields, but we also have independent artists, designers, engineers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, programmers and enthusiasts who regularly visit the lab on Open Days.

What do you consider your greatest goal as EMW’s Ambassador?
To show the importance of open-access innovation spaces within local communities, and how they can empower people to solve big and small, local and global problems in a meaningful way.

What kind of events are you planning to organize during the EMW?
Together with the Nordic Fablab Network, we would like to arrange a series of talks and workshops which are linked between the Nordic Labs to make the network more visible and show the power of peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing.