Enter Starbucks on a weekday morning, and it'll likely be filed with Work From Home warriors, emailing, freelancing, and PowerPointing between latte sips. Free, reliable WiFi is a tech-savvy worker necessity, but for those with more tactile creative pursuits, the traditional coffee shop scene isn't conducive to, say, creating a line of wallets to sell on Etsy or experimenting with the latest in 3D printing technology. Specific needs like these are what caused Tim Wong to open FabCafe in the Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo, as he told us at this year's SXSW Interactive.
Alongside the usual cafe fare like caffeinated drinks and small bites is the heart of Tim's vision, a studio where local designers can rent use of a laser printer to cut from Adobe Illustration files for about $20 per 30 minutes. Rather than going the way of a Kinko's where people come in to use the machines and leave in a hurry, FabCafe draws the local design community with artist lectures and workshops.
The workshops are when the six 3D printers are put to use, since the cost of the materials and machines makes regular renting of them less than feasible. Look for more FabCafe locations to open in Taipei and Barcelona this year. Take a look at some of the cafe's work, and tell us: what would you do at FabCafe if you had the chance?