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Make It Happen

City resources to help you get your ideas off the cocktail napkin and into the world

By Nate Archer
Photography by Naomi Finlay

So you have a brilliant idea for a product.

Now what? Having navigated the tricky worlds of finance, manufacturing and distribution, Joshua Brassé founded Ideacious with the aim of minimizing the steps between “Eureka!” and “Sold.” Walk into his office at Queen and John on any given day and you’ll see a team of industrial designers and account managers matching new talent with drafting experts and prototyping services, as well as getting the work of established local designers—such as Rob Southcott’s made-in-steel, paper airplane-like coat hooks and Tristan Zimmermann’s ceramic iPod sound-enhancing Phonofone III—engineered, produced and sold. Online sales and pledges drive production; revenue is split by those involved. Ideacious has recently launched a number of its own creations—including a tall, reclaimed-hickory bookcase with built-in ladder—and regularly hosts design competitions in order to uncover fresh creative types. ideacious.com

Alternate Routes: Four other places to learn new techniques and put your skills to use.

1. Crash Course

Prerequisite: An open mind

Non-profit Harbourfront Centre has inspired the design-inclined for over 30 years. Lectures led by artists and designers are scheduled regularly, as are affordable, hands-on workshops ranging from social media 101 to bookmaking. Just a stroll past the professional metal, textile, glass and ceramic studio incites creativity. harbourfrontcentre.com

2. Pitch-In

Prerequisite: Big heart, handy with a hammer

Those with hand-tool prowess might consider lending their skills to the upgrading of city housing. Public Displays of Affection (PDA) revives community projects by engaging the neighbourhood as well as skilled professionals, student designers and volunteers. Current projects include making furniture for and redesigning the interiors of housing complexes in Regent Park and Etobicoke. heckhome.com

3. Break-through

Prerequisite: Readiness for the tech-frontier

Take your future-forward ideas to another level by exploring the world of technology. InterAccess – an artist-run, advanced-skill centre – provides hands-on training with high-tech equipment. Workshops range from fashioning clothes with digital messages (“Wearable Technologies”) to realizing Adobe Illustrator designs in wood (“Laser-Cutting”). interaccess.org

4. Work Site

Prerequisite: Collaborative spirit

Lack the elbow room and equipment it takes to build your ideas? Site3, a co-op space, provides artists, product designers and technologists with the resources they need to get things done. Members can access rapid prototype machines and a fully equipped wood shop or attend seminars to brush up on welding and mould-making skills. site3.ca

Originally published in our Fall 2011 issue.

Categories: Stuff

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