Big success for the 2nd edition of the Maker Faire that quadrupled its visits this year, setting up at the Paris Trade Fair on the 2nd and 3rd of May. Makery was there.
35,000 visitors in two days. The number of visits went through the roof at the Paris Maker Faire, quadrupling the visits compared to its first edition in June 2014 that has attracted 8,000 visitors at Centquatre. If the maker movement is seducing the general public more and more, the attraction of the Paris Trade Fair undeniably had an effect.
“It is the first time in 111 years of existence that the Paris Trade Fair programs an external event,” says Jean-Baptiste Le Clec’h from FabShop, the company created by Bertier Luyt in 2012 that produces Maker Faire editions in France. In search of renewal, the organisers of the venerable Paris Trade Fair got closer to the teams of the Breton company to purchase the turnkey event. Yet not competing with the permanent fixture, the Lepine contest and its heap of necessarily patented inventions, although not always so innovative.
“We are the only ones in the world to have a Maker Faire national license, not just town by town, which gives us a lot of flexibility,” explains Jean-Baptiste Le Clec’h who is already planning to multiply regional editions in mini Maker Faire format, but also to relocate national events, like in Nantes in July 2015 in collaboration with les Machines de l’Île (“Les Machines de l’île” is a totally unprecedented artistic project. Born from François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice’s imagination, it is at crossroads of Jules Verne’s “invented worlds”, of the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci, and of Nantes’ industrial history, on the exceptional site of the former shipyards.)
And why not imagine a Maker Faire at the Elysée palace, following in the footsteps of the one organised at the White House in 2014. “The maker spirit is a sprit that is pleasing to the government”, declared the State secretary in charge of digital matters during the inauguration on May the 2nd. Nothing has been decided yet, but Axelle Lemaire promises to promote the idea to the President.
Meanwhile the Paris Maker Faire is getting its bearings by highlighting the projects of the 720 makers present and the fablabs on 200 booths, saving a more moderate exposure to its commercial component than in 2014.
Ribbon cutting with drone, by Axelle Lemaire, at the 2015 Maker Faire:
This year, no Maker Bot battalions. 3D printing even maintains a low profile in favour of drones. The Maker Faire gave them a flying area of 6,000 m2, the equivalent of the area reserved for the 200 exhibitors. “I just bought a drone at the fair and I wanted to see demonstrations,” says one of the visitors with a Parrot drone protruding from the bag. The Lorem fablab team is full-on: drone races and expert remote-control flying demos. Only watchwords: security and teaching.
“Handling the public is fine. However it is more complicated with the fair personnel. They sometimes suddenly appear in the flying zone without being conscious of the danger,” explains one of the members of the Lorem, as a technician casually approaches the take-off runway.
In the meantime, a concert of robots is roaring in drum’n’bass mode, while children are experimenting the blaring electric arcs of a Tesla coil. “We didn’t know about this, we came with the children to see the robots,” says a couple visiting the Paris Trade Fair flanked by two teenagers. So, not necessarily a public of aficionados, but curious people who are discovering the world of DIY.
Text and pictures by Carine Claude and Quentin Chevrier