It’s not often that a design firm has the opportunity to truly beta test a concept in the real world. And if it does, there’s perhaps no better laboratory for such
an experiment than in a community of local makers who are
ambitious, creative, and ever-curious about the materials
at their fingertips. In short, this is the story of Indianapolis,
Ind.,-based Ruckus Makerspace, a new 20,000-square-
foot industrial space designed by Schmidt Associates
where inventors, designers, artisans, photographers,
craftspeople, and engineers can share equipment,
technology, and ideas to help launch their next creations.
Before the renovation could be completed, makers and artisans were signing up for memberships and
chomping at the bit to move in, so facility owner Riley
Area Development Corp. and Ruckus agreed to open a
temporary space within the building based on Schmidt’s
original design for the final buildout to accommodate the
demand, according to Sarah Hempstead, CEO and
principal of Schmidt Associates. As it turns out, having
the makers create their own temporary space according
to the original drawings was a blessing in disguise.
“For lots of reasons the space wasn’t ready for
us to move in, and at the time, that was a disaster,”
Hempstead explained. “In retrospect it’s been a great
opportunity at a low risk to test, modify, work with,
and see what works for the makers—and see what
doesn’t. You really have the opportunity to fine tune
before you finalize. That’s really cool.”
She explained that Ruckus is not designed for
the casual, DIY artisan but rather is geared for those
who are making a living with their crafts. As a result,
Hempstead said programming was critical in that it
needed to foster small businesses and provide an array
of areas for a wide variety of makers, including individual
office studios and shop workpods; shared space with
work tables and equipment for woodworking, metal-
working, laser-cutting, 3D printing, and sewing; a
photography studio; and collaborative space for
meetups and events for small gatherings, education,
community groups, product pitches, and focal space.
Regarding materials, Hempstead noted that the
design team deliberately chose products and finishes
that would wear well and be familiar to the end users.
“Our palette was coming from the base materials that
our makers are using,” she explained. “Things like sealed
concrete floors, exposed wood panels, steel panels, the
textile wall—we were really trying to incorporate the final
materials that our makers are using to craft the things
that they’re doing but in their raw form.”
Most of the fixtures and finishes in the space were
repurposed or custom pieces designed by some of the
29 makers currently part of the Ruckus community (a few
of whom are highlighted here), which was intentional.
Because at the end of the day, Hempstead said, it’s
not about the building or the design, but about the
business that’s taking place inside.
THE HANDMADE SOCIETY
Australian singer/songwriter Martine Locke
has spent the last 20 years touring the world,
and love drew her to Indianapolis where, in
2014, she began The Handmade Society.
Locke took her love of words and her love of
leather cuffs and matched them together to
create one-of-a-kind leather and copper cuffs
that are made to order.
(SHAN PARKER & JAROD WILSON)
When longtime friends Shan Parker and Jarod
Wilson began experimenting with cutting wine
bottles, it only made sense to fill them with soy
wax for candles. Shortly after seeing success
from the candles, the business began focusing
solely on scented products from the original candle
line to body washes, bath salts, and more.