Fab Lab Zagreb (FLZ) is one of the cases that we have explored to understand how maker initiatives are organized, how makers improve their skills and how they interact with each other and finally, which values are created by making.
Fab Lab Zagreb is the first Fab Lab that was established in Croatia. It is registered as an NGO and maintains close ties with the Faculty of Architecture at Zagreb University, where it is currently located. Fab Lab Zagreb’s main mission is to promote digital fabrication to a general public in cooperation with similar organizations on local level and internationally.
Fab Lab Zagreb is strongly connected to its current president and manager, Roberto Vdović, who also teaches at the Faculty of Architecture University of Zagreb. Being pioneers in 3D desktop printing in Croatia, Roberto and two colleagues established the first Fab Lab in Croatia in 2013 and registered it according to the Fab Lab charter.
Fab Lab Zagreb follows three core missions:
The first one is taking a leading role in educational aspect connected to the whole maker and DIY movement ([email protected]): how to engage general population to use new digital fabrication technologies to improve STEAM skills, by connecting different education levels, and experiences.
The second mission is highly relevant for the local community (Give-a-hand): to be inspired by the local community problems and issues and find solutions using new technology, DIY (Do it yourself), DIWO (Do It With Others), find individual solutions and solutions for the community. Thus, Fab Lab Zagreb has a strong commitment to solving a wide range of social and other needs and moving towards contributing to meeting wider societal challenges in these areas. It addresses and involves children, unemployed people, people with disabilities, artists and students.
The third mission is supporting entrepreneurship (Do Local Go Global): it is related to the previous mission. If locally inspired solutions become interesting for global markets, they can be developed in the maker space (such as MakerBuino).
In addition, FLZ it is strictly following an open source ethos and promoting openness as part of their educational message. It serves as an entry space for their first experiences with digital fabrication. Fab Lab Zagreb puts a focus on interdisciplinarity in their activities and events, again, with a special focus on achieving educational goals and social goals.