People looking for a place where they can work on industrial design projects and receive training now have access to a new collaborative makerspace, with the official opening of Espace Fabrique, Quebec’s first co-op in the manufacturing sector.
Located in Saint-Henri, it offers tools and industrial-grade machines to facilitate the production of items and prototypes essential to the development of numerous types of projects. Espace Fabrique has 19 industrial-grade machines for both wood- and metalwork. The equipment, which is now accessible to the community, is installed in three separate workshops—for cutting, welding and machining—and represents an investment of $300,000.
Housed in a 12,000-square-foot former factory with 19-foot ceilings and open spaces that can be developed, Espace Fabrique offers private work areas, production support and advice from experts—all under one roof. Makers can take advantage of the sharing of resources, as well as Espace Fabrique community, in Montreal’s first cooperative industrial design workshop. Under this business model, which resembles that used by gyms, makers can work on their projects and benefit from access to technical specialists.
“We believe Espace Fabrique is the missing link: it will provide a boost for artists and entrepreneurs who want to work on projects that were previously not feasible for them,” said Michael Novak, chair of the board.
“Bringing together tools and talent is a winning formula for the accomplishment of a project. Materials and equipment represent an important investment hard to handle in the early stages of any project, and could become a deterrent for its conception. Access to counseling resources increases the success rate of the project. Developing an idea often implies going through many obstacles, and being able to efficiently count on these resources to guide us toward a solution becomes a true asset”, added Dominique Anglade, Member of the National Assembly for Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy.
“The launch of the Espace Fabrique Co-op contributes to make Montreal the smart and digital city it aims to be, becoming part of the breeding grounds of innovation found on the City’s territory and offering collaborative working spaces for tomorrow’s manufacturing economy. Montreal is proud to be a financial partner of this unique, creative space of production, which will foster the creation of direct and indirect employment and help reduce costs related to the development of new manufacturing products. Projects such as Espace Fabrique and other similar undertakings encourage and promote entrepreneurship as a leverage for growth and as an engine for economic development”, said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.
A unique makerspace
In addition to what is usually found in a makerspace, i.e. electronics, robotics and CNC machines, Espace Fabrique now provides resources, including personnel with expertise in metal- and woodwork, visual arts and crafts.
“This way, we can reduce costs and bring together people with complementary expertise within the same community. We can also support makers from the initial design to the production stage of a functioning, market-ready prototype,” concluded Emmanuelle Raynauld, Espace Fabrique’s executive director.
The diversity of Espace Fabrique community was evident at the official opening, which was made possible by the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.