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ロフトワーク広報ブログ

Public relations
Mayumi Ishikawa

What is the Current Loftwork Inc. Like?
New Value Brought Forth by the Newly Established Bases in Taipei, Hida, and Kyoto

Hello. I am Ishikawa from PR.

The other day, we invited partners and clients of Loftwork Inc. and held an event entitled "The Point of Contact Between New People, Things, and Events - What innovation is born from Taipei, Hida, and Kyoto?"
We talked about various points regarding Loftwork Inc. up until now:

・January: Establishment of Loftwork Taipei
・May: Establishment of Hidakuma Inc.
・Planned for October: Opening of FabCafe HIDA in Hida City
・Planned for October: Opening of MTRL KYOTO (Material Kyoto)

As you can see, there has been a dizzying array of launches of new bases.

Why did Loftwork Inc., which is reputedly a strong creative agency in web and digital content, launch these new bases? Why Taipei? Why Hida? And it seems as if Kyoto is also going to be new?
What kind of value do they bring?
Focusing on these kinds of speaking points, Loftwork Inc. invited all of its wonderful clients and partners, and explained the strategies for each of the new bases. Then, at what will be the base of Loftwork Inc. from now on, we held a workshop which was planned in cooperation with all of the participants in order to do something interesting together.

Top Left, Director and CMO Yabashi. Top Right, Loftwork Taipei Fujihara. Bottom Left, FabCafe LLP Iwaoka (FabCafe Hida), Loftwork Kyoto Moriuchi (MTRL Kyoto)

With this report, we would like to address what kind of company Loftwork Inc. is from the beginning, what kind of work we are doing, and what we are planning for the future at the new bases. We hope to convey all this from a PR perspective.

What is Loftwork Inc.?

First of all, let's take an excerpt from Yabashi's keynote speech and review what Loftwork Inc. is as a company.

Loftwork Inc. is an open collaboration creative agency that undertakes "design" in areas including content, communication, space, events, and on the web.

In the year 2000, Loftwork Inc. was founded based on the mission to "distribute creativity." This year, the company welcomes its 15th anniversary. However, since the opening of FabCafe in 2013, FabCafes have sprung up all over the world, and in 2015 we are establishing new bases all at once.

The 530 yearly creative projects handled by Loftwork Inc. are at the heart of the business. However, the unmatched strong point is that it is characterized by a creative network including the portfolio site "loftwork.com", which has over 20,000 creators, along with the event platform "OpenCU", which hosts seven or eight events per month centering around Shibuya. Also, we have fostered a global community which has expanded to six businesses in five countries around the world - the digital craft café, "FabCafe."
With that, we established Loftwork Taipei in February of 2015. In April, we established "Hidakuma Inc." in Hida, and in October, we established the new office cum co-working space "MTRL KYOTO (Material Kyoto)" in Kyoto. In order to address them, let's introduce each base in detail.

Loftwork Taipei - From the Asian Base to Global Expansion -

Members of Loftwork Taipei

About half a year has passed since the establishment of Loftwork Taipei in January of this year. Members with a variety of backgrounds have gathered at Loftwork Taipei. Along with Tim Wong, a representative specialist in architectural/urban design, there are also those with experience as web designers, UX designers, and writers. Thus, we can develop communication design incorporating an overseas perspective!

At Loftwork Taiwan, in order to help others visit Taiwan locally and get to know the lifestyle habits and trends, we do everything from tours and training camp planning to local research and strategic design. Along with that, we actually plan and implement events and hack-a-thons in cities around Asia, including those in Taiwan, et cetera, et cetera. Furthermore, it is possible to create a global site (Chinese) and promotional materials.

At present, there are also various ongoing projects at Loftwork Taiwan and FabCafe Taipei. From October 2nd to 11th, there will be an exhibition at "Taiwan Designers’ Week", the largest creative event in Taiwan, to be held in Taipei City.

Hidakuma Inc. - Traditional Technology × Digital Future -

Established in May, "Hida no Mori de Kuma wa Odoru (commonly referred to as Hidakuma)" is a venture which aims at a new form of public-private joint enterprise geared toward the creation of regional industries through forest regeneration and crafting.
Aside from processing and selling wooden products which make full use of Hida's rich regional resources, we are also in the midst of preparation for the opening of "FabCafe hida." (For this year's Loftwork Inc. training camp, 100 people renovated FabCafe hida's property

93% of the city of Hida's area is forest. Of that, 70% is natural broadleaf forest.
In the Hida region, there is a single lumber mill that specifically handles broadleaf lumber, Nishino Lumber Mill.
Furthermore, there are artisans in Hida who pass down traditions and techniques like "Kumiki", a systematized wood-joining process referenced for its complexity by architects around the world.
In the land of Hida, there is a comprehensive flow from forest to lumber to carpentry to architecture. However, new value will be brought about through the power of creativity and technology. That is Hidakuma's mission.

An example of the services Hidakuma would like to come to offer is that of installing two types of FAB machines, which cut lumber from design data, at FabCafe Hida, and preparing an analog + digital carpentry workshop. A CNC can cut wood from a two-dimensional board material, while a robot arm can do so with three-dimensional lumber.
In addition, it will be great for the creators of the FabCafe community to create new FAB products that combine broadleaf lumber and other materials, and conduct overseas expansion beginning in Hida through the global network.
Also, we believe it will be interesting when we can provide a service in which drones equipped with 3D scanners are flown around the lumber mill to convert all the timber in the lumber mill into 3D data, and the 3D data is archived on the web in a database through which creators can select timber online.

In such a place as the land of Hida, the Hidakuma Autumn Festival will be held with the theme of "design that unifies people and the forest" on October 17th and 18th.
By all means, please take this opportunity to visit Hida!

Material Kyoto – City of History and Start-Ups – Craftwork Co-Working Space Beginning in Kyoto -

In order to expand business operations, the Loftwork Inc. Kyoto Office has moved to a large detached house in the Gojo area. Furthermore, we have opened "MTRL KYOTO (Material Kyoto)", a co-working facility which caters to creators.

In Kyoto, where start-up companies are intermingled with traditional technology and products, craftspeople, and cutting edge technology and products, the theme of Loftwork Inc.'s newly created space is "Material."

City of History and Start-Ups – Craftwork Co-Working Space Beginning in Kyoto - Kyoto

From traditional materials like textiles and Japanese paper to cutting-edge sensors and robotic modules, we have prepared various materials and tools for creators to openly make use of their ideas and skills in a place they can share.

Features of MTRL KYOTO:
・10-yen-per-minute drop-in style co-working space
・ Various materials collected from both Japan and overseas for exhibition and sale, along with permanent installations of digital fabrication machines
・The third floor is used as a Loftwork Inc. office
・Use as an event platform and accommodation service planned, as well

Planned opening in October of 2015! Stay tuned.

Then, for the latter half of the event, all the participants had a workshop!

At the event, we implemented a workshop to find out what kinds of new things we could try through a global community and what could be done with the skills of each participant and Loftwork Inc.'s resources. By gathering people who challenge themselves on a daily basis in each and every field, including university, researchers, editors, manufacturers, human resources, and real estate, we conducted an ideation so active it seemed like it would spark a chemical reaction.

Finally, all the participants at FabCafe had an incredible time, relishing delicious sake and local Hida delicacies such as Mitarashi dango.

Each of Loftwork Inc.’s new bases are starting to get moving.

Finally, in a closing talk, Kimizuka stated, "I want to do something 'fun yet painful' with everyone who participated today. The act of making things, giving birth to new things, although fun, is accompanied by suffering. I absolutely want to try and do that kind of 'fun yet painful' act with everyone."