A TARDIS + 3D BotFarm for Makerbot

The leader in desktop 3D printing and consistently ranked one of New York City’s top startups, MakerBot® Industries, has a new highly branded office by corporate interiors firm MKDA. Founded in 2009 in the Boerum Hill area of Brooklyn, MakerBot manufactures desktop printers that uses plastic filament to create 3D objects from digital designs. MakerBot recently introduced its fourth generation 3D printers, the MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printer and the MakerBot® Replicator® 2X Experimental 3D Printer.

The fast-growing Brooklyn startup relocated to 31,250 square feet of space at Downtown Brooklyn’s One MetroTech Center after outgrowing a ground floor warehouse space where the firm continues to assemble MakerBots in its “BotCave.” MKDA designed the new office to retain the industrial startup culture of MakerBot despite its new corporate address.

“Makerbot wished to expand into a space that would support its substantial growth while also maintaining the culture for which it has become known, as well as its presence within Brooklyn’s Tech Triangle,” said MKDA President Michael Kleinberg, who noted that the Tech Triangle comprises DUMBO, Navy Yard and Downtown Brooklyn.

“MKDA assisted us in creating a phenomenal space at One MetroTech that allows us to meet our current and future business objectives while also enjoying the same visual and creative energy that has been the hallmark of our company culture since day one,” said MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis.

Tasked with adapting the MakerBot brand to a new, corporate environment, MKDA sought to create a rough, unfinished and transparent aesthetic to replicate the inner mechanics of the original MakerBot 3D printer. “More importantly, we wanted to create workspaces that reflect the startup’s intrinsic cultural landscape and language, supporting the ideals of innovation along with the cohesive community of high-tech artisans and craftsman, within the new infrastructure,” said MKDA Creative Director Edin Rudic.

These dual design concepts, along with MakerBot’s sustainable approach, played a substantial role in the functional and aesthetic design of MakerBot’s new offices. Reusing some existing structures, MKDA created an open and flexible floor plan that would provide a natural circulation and promote interaction, engagement and collaboration. Numerous vignettes within the space, such as the welcoming and spacious café and lounge, provide areas for communal gatherings.

MKDA commissioned custom designed plywood tables and other furnishings from Filson and Rohrbacher to create a basic, distinctive craftsman environment. As a counterpoint, the space features a custom-made replica of the Doctor Who TARDIS, or time machine, which ‘transports’ individuals from the reception area into the main office space. The firm’s signature red is used liberally throughout the space, except on the blue TARDIS.

“By closely managing and containing the project budget, we were able to infuse a higher level of creative expression into the space,” said MKDA Project Manager Lon Skidds, AIA, NCARB. “One example—a first for my career—was to incorporate a Dr. Who TARDIS into the layout.” The MakerBot office space also features workspaces for research and development, testing, support, sales and marketing, administrative, IT, shipping, human resources and finance.

“MakerBot is one of the most exciting creative companies and we’re proud to have advised them on their leasing strategy at MetroTech, which is the location of the burgeoning tech community in Downtown Brooklyn,” said Cushman & Wakefield Executive Vice President Glenn Markman. “The office space that MKDA designed for MakerBot builds on this advantageous location to provide the firm with a functional office that will serve the firm well for many years to come.”