This Asylum cranks with creativity

Vaibhav Chhabra and his team have built creative spaces, finds Tushar Kaushik

Published: 31st October 2016 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th October 2016 03:34 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

There are many ways in which inspiration can strike. It can even happen when one is relaxing in their bathtub. 26-year-old Vaibhav Chhabra’s ‘eureka moment’ is even more unlikely than Archimedes’. When the ceiling of Vaibhav’s old office in Mumbai collapsed, the mechanical engineer turned it into an opportunity. He began by asking people to join him in rebuilding the tables, via Facebook. Six people volunteered on the first day and soon, an increasing number of people would come not just to build tables, but to work on projects of their own. Maker’s Asylum was thus born. Today, it boasts of two facilities and hundreds of innovative projects of all kinds. Excerpts from an interview with Vaibhav:

What is the concept of Maker’s Asylum?
It’s a collaborative workspace; more like a playground for artists, engineers, social scientists, musicians, students, and inventors to collaborate, share tools and ideas to build things that matter to them. It’s a community-run space, i.e., the members of the Asylum lead and run the space curating workshops, creating events, encouraging more people to start ‘making’.

What kind of work goes on?
Anyone is welcome. People come there to make anything from notebooks and photo frames and furniture, to building robots and satellite ground stations. Entrepreneurs use the space to incubate their businesses and use the tools to prototype and deliver finished products.

Where are the current workspaces, and how big are they?
We are currently running two maker spaces. The one in Mumbai is 7,000 sqft and in New Delhi, it’s 2,000 sqft. We have also created a mobile maker space called The Maker Auto. It is a three-wheeler auto rickshaw re-purposed to carry tools and equipment that takes Maker’s Asylum beyond the physical locations.

How did you raise funds?
It was crowd-funded and we raised around $11,000 to take care of the initial cost. The rest of it has been bootstrapped. We actively look out for grants and CSR funding for the same.  

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