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New student-led co-working space Attic Lab born on Ookayama Campus

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May 23, 2019

Attic Lab, a new student-led co-working space, has opened on the second floor of the First Cafeteria on Ookayama Campus. The facility provides Tokyo Tech students with a place where they can focus on developing startups, realizing their own ideas, or simply starting a new activity in a free space. Attic Lab will also be a venue for various events to help broaden networks among students.

Two students recently spoke about the purpose and process leading up to the formation of Attic Lab, which officially opened its doors on April 19.

The roomy Attic Lab

The roomy Attic Lab

Comments from student design team member

Chisato Sasada, 2nd-year master's student, Architecture and Building Engineering

Students painting the facility walls…
Students painting the facility walls…

Once we had established the core concept as being a "secret hideout for Tokyo Tech students," we gradually came up with four other ideas that we incorporated into the design. The space was to be one of "collective intelligence" where everyone shared their expertise. It also had to include a hint of "otaku," where buffs of different fields secretly but steadily planned their next move. It was also to be a "lab" of constant trial and error. And as its users, over time, would break through the ceiling and out into the world, we integrated the concept of an "attic". We brought all these ideas together, and as a result pictured a rough, tough, reliable, yet slightly clumsy space that was rich in color and texture, and assimilated wood, concrete, and other materials. Each component was also designed with the "collective intelligence" concept in mind.

Renovating the ceiling…
Renovating the ceiling…

Installing new flooring…
Installing new flooring…

And building new furniture
And building new furniture

The ceiling design represents this concept very well. The aluminum foil and the shape of the original ceiling help reflect light, drawing everyone's attention to the center of the room.

The tools in the room also encourage sharing the wisdom of crowds. White canvas-like walls have been supplemented with post-its and memo pads to help visualize students' output. The mobile wooden shelves can be used to share and display student creations, and the stationery wall also aims to encourage spontaneous conversations among users.

The space also functions as a base for collective art. As the aim is for users to renovate and update the space according to their needs, we hope that students continue to design the Attic Lab together.

We could not have completed this project without the valuable support of the Office of Research and Innovation, the many Tokyo Tech alumni, local interior designers, and builders who helped us, and of course the students! So many joined in the fun, not just from the Architecture and Building Engineering field, but also from other departments and majors. For many, it was their first experience in interior construction, and it was a joy to witness the speed and technical ingenuity of Tokyo Tech students as they worked together. I hoped that, by having many participants join in to support student entrepreneurship, we could all benefit from the diversity Tokyo Tech has to offer. Let's keep going! Come and re-create the space in a way that best suits you!

Comments from student management team member

Ayano Nomura, 2nd year, Mechanical Engineering

The Attic Lab student management team conducted plenty of discussion regarding what kind of co-working space Tokyo Tech needs. Many students helped us with the process of remodeling the room on the second floor of the building. Attic Lab is now open, but it is never complete. That is an important part of the concept. As the name suggests, it is a hideaway where we students can freely renovate and update the facilities.

We obviously want students who are involved in startups and entrepreneurship, or who plan to join business contests, to utilize Attic Lab. However, we also feel that awareness regarding these kinds of activities on campus is still fairly low. Therefore, we want Attic Lab to host lectures regarding startup activity and ideathons that cover everything from brainstorming to prototype creation. Students themselves are involved in the planning, design, and execution of events and the upkeep of the venue itself, and Attic Lab aims to continue promoting student-centered planning and operations in the future.

Check out our Facebook pages for more information.

Be more creative! This is the slogan of the Attic Lab family!

How was Attic Lab established?

With the support of the Office of Research and Innovation, the Attic Lab project was conceived in an attempt to boost student start-up support. It aims to foster more entrepreneurial minds through networking involving current students, graduates, and business people.

During the implementation phase, Tokyo Tech graduates employed by Innovations and Future Creation Inc. provided mentoring to the students in charge of planning and managing Attic Lab, while alumni at tsukuruba Inc. guided students heading the design and construction of the space.

Students and staff at opening ceremony

Students and staff at opening ceremony

From Attic Lab's conception to its initial completion, heavy emphasis was placed on the independence of students and their interaction and networking with alumni. The new facility is an outstanding new place for Tokyo Tech students to innovate.

Attic Lab logo

Attic Lab logo

Attic Lab logo

Attic Lab poster

Attic Lab poster

Attic Lab poster

Contact

Venture Development and Relations Section, Office of Research and Innovation

Email venture@sangaku.titech.ac.jp

Tel +81-3-5734-2479

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This article was updated on June 21

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