2020 – a year of transformation

After a very active first year in 2019, it seems 2020 was much more quiet for HoFaLab. Of course the Covid-19 pandemic brought us to a halt like everyone else. So even if we had to cancel our original plans to give workshops and organize an exhibition this year, we have been working on many other topics in the background!

First of all, Luisa, one of the co-founders, decided to leave Hamburg. She has moved back to southern Italy in order to take care of a farmhouse in an ancient monastery. Among other aims and efforts, she wants it to become a place for artistic exchange and creation. As she remains connected to HoFaLab, we hope she manages to start a residency for artists there, and we are looking forward to future cooperation.

In parallel, Piet and Henner, long time active members of HoFaLab, have now joined officially the team. They are now part of the heads along with Andre, Thierry and Roman. We are so happy to have them on board as their skills, motivation and creativity will boost us for sure!

On the project side, Piet was busy with OpenLab in order to produce open source face shields that were distributed for free where ever needed. He also worked on the development of a machine that could manufacture face masks.

Roman, on his side, has started a new exciting project. Polymehr is a cooperation between the local organizations HoFaLab, Precious Plastic Hamburg, and the association Leben mit Behinderung Hamburg Elternverein e.V.  (“Living with Disabilities”).

For those not aware, Precious Plastic is an open hardware plastic recycling project and is a type of open source digital commons project. It relies on a series of machines and tools which grind, melt, and inject recycled plastic, allowing for the creation of new products out of recycled plastic on a small scale. The original idea started in Holland in 2013, and has successfully inspired people all around the world. Following the open source philosophy, many similar spaces have opened across the globe with the same mission, including Precious Plastic Hamburg.

Roman then had the idea to associate the concept with the association Leben mit Behinderung Hamburg Elternverein e.V. The objective is to show how people, with and without disabilities, seek for solutions to problems like plastic waste.

Moreover, we have officially created the association HoFaLab e.V. with eleven founding members. This provides a space for recognition that will allow us to achieve much more. The charter in German can be found here. This way we become stronger and more independent. In this sense, we are currently looking for a new room in Wilhelmsburg. This larger space would allow us to have our own lab with more machines, as well as a separate room for workshops.

Finally, we have also joined in the creation of the association Fab City Hamburg e.V. in October 2020. HoFaLab is a founding member of this umbrella organization, along with many partners: local institutions, makerspaces and other initiatives interested in circular economy. As part of the Fab City network, Hamburg aims to enable the urban transition towards locally productive and globally connected cities. Fab City Hamburg is supported by the Behörde für Wirtschaft und Innovation Hamburg (“Ministry of Economic and Innovation”).

We are now looking forward to everything that is going to happen in 2021!

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