Nod Makerspace is located in an old cotton factory in Bucharest (Romania) and represents a diverse and dynamic ecosystem that accommodates designers, artists, engineers, inventors, freelancers and entrepreneurs to meet, discuss and create together. There is a fablab, as well as co-working facilities, with spaces dedicated to design, prototyping and marketing of almost any type of project. Moreover, there are event & meeting facilities, and a materials library that is unique in the region. Next to Nod Makerspace, a restaurant and rooftop bar, a civic centre, and other office spaces have developed in the building.
The cotton factory where Nod Makerspace is based is located next to the Dambovita River. Built during communist rule, the cotton factory was eventually abandoned. The building became home to multiple cultural activities until Nod started to utilise the space for their entrepreneurial activities. The ecosystem is characterised by the fact that they haven’t received any support from the state, which has enabled a feeling of autonomy and ‘avant-guard’ citizen action – perhaps rooted in its recent communist history. [1; 5]
The ecosystem has transformed the abandoned cotton factory into the first ‘makerspace’ in Romania. Its mission is to democratize design, engineering and creative education, as well as to create opportunities to improve living standards and build a strong open-source community. It has restored the cotton factory that now operates as a fablab and hosts workshop spaces with tools and machinery for a wide range of crafts. Support is offered to small entrepreneurs in creative industries, to help them prototype and market their ideas. The building also hosts Romania’s first materials library, which contains over 2500 samples of material, and has the goal to educate designers and inventors about the characteristics of different materials and their uses. Furthermore, several multi-purpose spaces can be rented in the building. Together with Nod Makerspace, a restaurant and rooftop bar, which are open to the general public, a civic centre, and other office spaces have developed in the building. [2;6]
The ecosystem is the result of a collaboration of a growing community of small entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and common needs for space, tools and materials. The implementation stage of the ecosystem is characterised by a collaboration of this growing community of entrepreneurs with external (larger) companies such as telecom providers, banks and material/tool manufacturers. The makerspace has allowed the initiating entrepreneurs to pool resources and knowledge, which directly benefits their own businesses as well as the wider community of creative entrepreneurs in the area. The ecosystem is governed through open-democratic principles, and there are very little regulations on the use of the space, providing users with the freedom to design their own use of the space, tools and materials. [2;3;6]
The initial phase of Nod Makerspace has been financed through monetary contributions from the initiating entrepreneurs, as well as by non-monetary contributions from a range of larger businesses. These businesses have provided materials and services free of charge. In total, the initial investment is estimated at €120.000,- of which 40% consisted of such non-monetary contributions. [1;6]
The ecosystem generates income (with a non-profit aim) through a membership programme for entrepreneurs and the rental of event spaces. The income generated is reinvested in the initiative, and, for example, utilized to sponsor student memberships to the makerspace. Next to the income generated through organisational activities, different projects have been financed through a combination of monetary and non-monetary contributions from different sources. For example, the Le Firul Ierbii – a space for public meetings, debates and civic initiatives – was initially funded by the prize from an urban design competition. The materials library has been financed, among others, through a crowdfunding campaign and contributions of producers of materials. It is considered to have been the largest crowdfunding campaign in Romania. The initiative also runs competitions that are funded by external partners, such as the Peroni design competition. [1;2;4;5;6]
This case is also featured in the HUB-IN Business and Financing Model Guide.
This guide provides you with a state of the art overview of business, financing and governance models, relevant to the heritage-led regeneration of Historic Urban Areas.
Lolev, T. (n.d.), Un centru emergent al industriilor creative. Nod makerspace, În continuare E-Zeppelin. Retrieved from e-zeppelin.ro/un-centru-emergent-al-industriilor-creative-nod-makerspace-in-continuare/, on 1/10/2021.
Nod Makerspace, organisational website, en.nodmakerspace.ro, accessed on 1/10/2021.
Wall-Street (January, 2016), Povestea unei foste fabrici in care iti poti crea propria afacere sau poti invata sa fii creativ. Retrieved from www.wall-street.ro/articol/Start-Up/193330/povestea-unei-foste-fabrici-in-care-iti-poti-crea-propria-afacere-sau-inveti-sa-fii-creativ.html, on 1/10/2021.
Ionescu, A.I. (2016) Nod Makerspace, Atlantis Magazine, pp. 31-34. Retrieved from issuu.com/nodmakerspace/docs/atlantis-26.3-nod-makerplace-2_fina, on 1/10/2021.
E-Zeppelin (2015). Articol revista #133. Retrieved from e-zeppelin.ro/nod-makerspace/, on 1/10/2021.