Last week, I went to Bangkok for a few days. And instead of visiting temples, I went to visit 2 makerspaces. A nice way to combine leisure and work. As people say, when you do what you love, should you still call it work?
Maker Zoo Bangkok
Maker Zoo doesn’t look like a zoo at all. Quite on the contrary, it is a neat place, hosted in PAH, a creative co-working space in Ekamai, a trendy area of Bangkok. I had the pleasure to meet Charle who setup this co-working space, along with the more web-tech co-working Hubba, just opposite of the street, about 2 years ago. Charle visited Hanoi a few times in the past, also looking for opportunities there. Now they expanded to Chiang Mai.
Talking about Chiang Mai, I also met with Jeng who co-organized Barcamp Chiang Mai just the week before. Having a chance to chat with all them, I could feel the creativity and energy of a growing community. Charle said that initially there was mainly expats in the co-working space, but that now, after 2 years, the co-working spaces are 50-50 thai / expats. PAH and Maker Zoo share the building with a cafe / bakery, but they don’t seem to partner. PAH have their own cafeteria and fridge, they only go to the cafe outside for a treat.
In the Maker Zoo room, a 3d-printer and a selection of colored plastic, and tucked in a corner part of their e-commerce stock. In the entrance of the Maker Zoo room, a punching ball wired with electronics. As I discussed with Max, one of the co-founder of Maker Zoo, about their activities, it turns out they are working on a smart yoga mat project for their client. Maker Zoo are initially a team of 5, they work on product development for clients. They partner with PAH to open this maker space 2 months ago. They also run an e-commerce website to sell electronics. As Max put it, not many people in Thailand know Chinese, so it’s hard for them to get electronics parts. This year the Maker Zoo team are busy setting up the space and next year their target is to start to run workshops and take part in education initiatives.
I didn’t get as much time as I wanted there to understand more their background, their hopes and thoughts on the makers community in Thailand, but as we say these days, we’ll keep in touch on facebook and linkedin!
Their piece of advice to Fablab Saigon? “If you’re going to open a fab cafe, find a good partner, otherwise you’ll end up doing too many jobs at the same time !”