Kane is cofounder and technical director at FabLab Valletta.
Kane graduated from the University of Malta as a BE&A graduate with a background in computational design and parametric modeling and scripting. His interests include; environmental, structural and complex geometry codification, data visualization, interactive design, optimization and their application to the Architectural Profession. He has tutored various parametric workshops, including at the Faculty for the Built Environment. He is currently working at Architecture Project (AP) Valletta, Malta as an Architect and Technical consultant.
How did you end up joining the #maker movement?
Fablab valletta joined the maker movement towards the end of 2015 when it opened its doors to over 500 architecture students during the European Architecture Student Assembly (EASA). It was then that the lab was occupied by three of the thirty workshops that took place during the assembly. For two weeks the fablab was constantly packed with students, tutors and visiting guests.
Fablab valletta is run by three architects who, prior to the establishing of the fablab shared similar positions in an architecture firm. One fine day they decided to pitch the idea of setting up the first fablab on the island to their bosses. The idea was taken well and before you know it fablab valletta was set up.
What do you most value in the innovation/maker environment?
What we value mostly is the constant necessity to meet new, highly talented individuals that share a passion for making things. Whether it’s an art piece, a product, an installation or even a choreographed dance!
The underlining concept of interdisciplinarity makes us very excited about the above mentioned processes. The art of breaking traditional professional boundaries and bringing different mentalities together. Setting up the fablab, although still in its infancy, has provided us with a strategic position to bring people from different professions together.
What’s the maker movement outlook in your country?
Although still in its infancy, the maker movement in Malta is gaining rapid popularity. This is mainly due to the islands limited size and the unavoidable factor of knowing almost everything that’s happening around you. As we speak there are a number of major catalyst events that are in the pipeline that relate to the local contemporary digital art community. We, at fablab Valletta are lucky enough to be involved in a number of these events, and eagerly look forward for all of them to evolve and flourish into what we believe will be ground breaking events and projects that will guide our local maker movement into the next decade.
In your opinion, what features in your city/destination/country is more appealing to an innovation-oriented crowd?
Malta has a long lasting history, dating back to around 3,500 BC. Since then the island has endured a plethora of colonisations, wars and a lot more; all of which have helped carve a rich and long lasting heritage. Unfortunately a number of these historic trades that have shaped our identity are slowly depleting. With today’s advancements in technology a plethora of these dying traditions can be revamped and augmented to suite today’s needs.
Moreover Malta’s size and strategic geographical location have aided significantly in placing Malta as an optimal testing bed for a number of operations. The micro-city scenario Malta provides has proven to be significant to a number of companies wanting to test out systems prior to launching them elsewhere.
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… ?
At fablab Valletta we cater for whoever holds a passion for making things. From the hobbyist/ craftsman that want to improve the efficiency of his or her trade by replacing analogue methods with the use of digital technologies. To the architecture firm that wants to augment their designs by incorporating parametric design methodologies to their designs. Considering our profession as architects we tend to work a lot with architects, and architecture students. The main services provided to architecture students and companies is the production of 3D models using 3D printing and laser cutting.
We also target businesses in the manufacturing industry that are looking into expanding their traditional analogue processes digitally. Not every company enjoys the luxury of a research and development department and for this reason we are being approached by companies that require an element of R&D in their operations.
We are also being approached by a number of artists that wish to create art pieces or interactive installations that have an element of innovation.
We also believe strongly in the element of education and sharing of information and knowledge. At fablab valletta we do not like to be regarded as a print shop, however our doors are open to the public and we promote the use of the space as though it were your own home. We hope that such an approach will motivate more and more people to become members in the community and eventually see a rapid growth in innovation on the island.
What do you consider your greatest goal as EMW’s Ambassador?
As EMW’s ambassadors we hope to increase our international collaborative potential by generating new relationships with other ambassadors representing similar spaces globally.
Once these relationships have been set, we would be more than happy to hold a global summit on the island. Malta’s rich history, picturesque landscapes and strategic geographical location would make the Island a perfect destination for a European Maker Week.
We would be more than happy to tap into our local network and make the experience as smooth and streamlined for every participant as possible.
What kind of events are you planning to organize during the EMW?
Considering that Malta’s maker movement is still in its infancy we are considering organising on open week at the fablab with a number of simple workshops dedicated towards generating awareness over the art of making things. Most probably we will be holding basic 3D modelling, 3D printing, Laser cutting and basic circuitry workshops.
In parallel to this, in the evenings, we will be hosting a series of lectures where in all the individuals, and companies that we have collaborated with will be invited to give a brief presentation about their work. This will give them an opportunity to promote their local business and at the same time generate more awareness about the core philosophy behind the maker community.