Fab Lab Barcelona, part of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), is leading one of the use cases of DAFNE+. Fab Lab Barcelona was the first Fab Lab funded in Europe in 2007, affiliated with MIT’s Center for Bit and Atoms. It still remains a place where design, computation, and fabrication come together, fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Fab Lab Barcelona aims to empower individuals to turn their ideas into real prototypes using digital fabrication technologies like 3D printing, laser cutting, and CNC milling.  It also acts as a connection hub for diverse creative minds, including makers, designers, students, educators, craftspeople, artists, tech-savvy creators, academics, art enthusiasts, curators, researchers, and managers. The Distributed Design Platform is a project co-funded by  the European Union coordinated by Fab Lab Barcelona, with 17 members from a diverse pool of cultural and creative organisations across Europe. The objective of the platform is to act as an exchange and networking hub for the European maker movement to develop and promote the connection between designers, makers and the market.

The people who are part of the Fab Lab Network and the Distributed Design Platform, along with their respective and extended communities, are the central focus of our case study and contribute significantly to our research.

In the context of DAFNE+, Fab Lab Barcelona is exploring new alternative economic models that can empower and sustain these practitioners. We plan to identify tools and methodologies by collaborating with the maker and design communities in the Fab Lab Network and the Distributed Design Community that respect our core values of openness, collaboration, regeneration, and ecosystemic thinking.

At Fab Lab Barcelona, community involvement has been crucial for identifying our use case primary objectives in DAFNE+. We used surveys and interviews to collect input from our community and two main areas of interest emerged. The first is to create financial structures supporting open-source projects and decentralized collaboration. This ensures recognition and benefits for all contributors involved in the project, from its development to eventual sale. Second, another significant aspect of our research is the potential application of blockchain and cryptocurrencies to physical objects. This expands the horizons of these emerging technologies beyond software and digital art, driven by the interest of the makers’ community.

Within DAFNE+, Fab Lab Barcelona aims to give voice to our communities needs, fostering collaboration and empower creators through new research methods. We will work with experts from the Fab Lab Barcelona and Distributed Design Platform networks, along with like-minded partners in the DAFNE+ consortium, to address these important concerns and find solutions that benefit our community.