About Workspace

Workspace is a non profit, public benefit organisation based in Hout Bay Harbour, Cape Town.

The organisation was founded in 2013 and is dedicated to providing a platform for knowledge and skills exchange across the social, cultural and generational divides.

Design Hub | Makerspace | Shared Workshop

We aim to provide resources for all people from all backgrounds, ages and abilities to use “making” as a tool for empowerment, economic opportunity and the building of social capital.

Uplifting the Community

The focus of the facility is to provide a creative space for makers to engage, make and display their crafts. Within that mandate, the members of Workspace are committed to sharing their skills to help uplift disadvantaged people within the Hout Bay community.

Illustration by Dongyun Lee, commissioned for Deloittes University Press

The Maker Movement

The idea of Making and the subsequent “maker movement” has become a focal point of post modern design and critical thinking. The subject is highly topical internationally and very relevant locally as it points young people towards learning skills that previously were not seen as being cool.

A maker is someone who derives identity and meaning from the act of creation.

What distinguishes contemporary makers from the inventors and do-it-yourselfers (DIY-ers) of other eras is the incredible power afforded them by modern technologies and a globalized economy, both to connect and learn and as a means of production and distribution.

The maker movement is seen as a contemporary subculture representing a technology-based extension of art, crafting and DIY intersecting with hacker culture of using an item for another useful purpose other than what its manufacturer intended it for.

Driven by innovation

The movement is very broad and incorporates a myriad of pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, laser cutting, CNC machines, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, arts and crafts.

The subculture stresses a cut-and-paste approach to standardized hobbyist technologies, and encourages cookbook re-use of designs published on websites and maker-oriented publications.

Driven by technological innovation, the Maker Movement is democratizing the means of production and enabling connections between resources and markets.

Powerful and accessible digital software allows makers to design, model and engineer their creations, while also lowering the learning curve in learning to use industrial grade tools of production.

Makers have access to sophisticated processes, materials and machines from around the globe. Online communities, social networks , cross continental collaborations as well as local Makerspaces stimulate an exponential level of creativity and performance never seen before.

This might well be the last phase of the Industrial Revolution – maybe the decentralization of manufacturing, the democratization of production and lowering of barriers to entry to the market through ecommerce will make our lives easier.

The current maker movement, with its bent for “open source hardware,” has parallels to the open source software movement. By enabling collaborative programming, the open source movement fundamentally changed the way software was developed.

Open source hardware opens the door for newcomers by undermining the proprietary foothold of a larger competitor. With design and technical specifications available online, hardware developers can modify existing hardware and do rapid prototyping and small-scale production runs.

A ‘New Economy”

Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of Make magazine, first categorized makers into three broad stages: Zero to maker, maker to maker, and maker to market.

Not all makers will move through all three stages, nor will they want to—the power of the movement is that there are as many end points as there are entry points.

The rise of making in the 21st century is largely a response to the floundering of the domestic and creative arts education in schools over the past couple of decades as well as the soaring cost of living and two working parents which eliminated the luxury of home workshops. We now have two generations of people with no exposure to working with their hands.

The movement is being seen as a forerunner of the “new economy”, values such as people before profits, collaboration before competition and reputation before revenue are espoused by makers.

Corporations have taken notice and are aware that their customers are changing, it is no longer unreasonable for the consumer to have a say in the design or to demand ethical manufacturing practices.

The maker-oriented consumer segment wants to modify and adapt existing technology to their own needs and purposes, creating value for both the manufacturer and the consumer. By creating “hackable” interfaces in their products, companies enable makers to potentially discover new uses not conceived of by the product development team. Products can be reconceived as platforms that engage and encourage maker-oriented consumers to tailor products to the needs of individual consumers.

John Hagel ,co-chairman of Deloitte Center for the Edge, succinctly sums it up:

“The maker movement is an important manifestation of the economic landscape to come. Companies would be well served to find ways to participate, learn, and perhaps shape the movement. The maker movement brings disruptions but also opportunities: to boost sensing capabilities, leverage platforms for R&D, accelerate learning, and reimagine the enterprise as a platform”