As we excitedly enter this maker’s space, one of India’s first, large graffiti walls greet us unabashedly. Deepanshu, an intern who finds immense solace for his DIY tendencies here tells us that the graffiti has been done by “some friends from Bombay” and that it reads “Pass it on”. We later find out that the mural has been done by Something Sketchy for Street Art Festival, India. And this gives us a feel of the kind of collaborative space that Maker’s Asylum has created and plans to sustain. Premankan Seal, the content head for Delhi space tells us that intention is to keep the spaces self-sustaining to provide a platform for designers, engineers and hobbyists to come together and create “whatever they want”. The Delhi space is stocked with 3D printers, laser cutting machines and all woodwork tools. The Bombay office, which is much larger, has a much larger array of machinery and tools, including the recently sponsored full range of Bosch equipment. The result: designers and engineers tackle real world problems as well as build on their own ideas having, finally, the access to the equipment as well as the engineer who “powers on” her/ his product or idea. Consequently, the engineer finally meets a designer to help turn her/ his technology into an application or a product. “The synergies are obvious. Wait, not obvious, they’re in your face!” claims Premankan.
Awed and Inspired by a bunch of makers spaces from across the world such as the famous Pier 9, San Francisco and MIT’s M Labs, Maker’s Asylum draws its concept from the Massachusetts based Artisan’s Asylum of which its founder, Vaibhav Chhabra was a part during his graduation days at the Boston University. After getting to Mumbai, Vaibhav got together with like-minded DIY enthusiasts and undertook projects such as resurrecting EyeNtera’s office in Mumbai after its ceiling fell down before officially launching Maker’s Asylum in 2013.
We scan through the work benches and see all kinds of tools and wires scattered around. Utkarsh who looks after operations of the Delhi space, proudly shows us a replica of the Eiffel Tower that was produced using laser cutters. Having spent a hectic week making innovative installations for the Lost Party to be held later in Lonnavala, Maharashtra, Utkarsh seems a little relieved as he shows us the space where everything has been made by the team itself. And by everything, we mean the work benches, furniture, décor as well as speakers!
Maker’s Asylum offers monthly as well as quarterly memberships with special considerations for students. Regular monthly membership costs INR 3500 whereas quarterly membership can be purchased for INR 7000. Detailed membership plans are available their website. Doing away with fussy processes, you can just walk into the space (they’re open 7 days from 10AM-8PM) and by the time you walk out having competed the paperwork and payments, you’re part of a 10,000-odd member community that the place boasts of. The membership also entitles you to receive tools training along with access to the machines, equipment and their workstations. Premankan explains that they rely primarily on word-of-mouth advertising that continuously ensures that the community remains a tightly-knit set of professionals and enthusiasts. They also participate in events such as the Street Art Festival to spread the word and meet like-minded people.
By the end of our tour, we’re smitten by the simple brilliance of the “asylum”, Premankan leaves us with what is the essence of the space-“Come over any time and get your hands dirty!”
Where: 268 G, Hauz Rani, New Delhi
Nearest Metro Station: Malviya Nagar