"We spent the weekend in Väimela, near Võru town, doing the first ever wood hackathon in Estonia and the Baltics, maybe in the world. The event had an unbelievable level of energy and ideas. For a while now we haven’t had 36 ideas pitched on Friday evening, from which 18 gathered teams around them. It felt like the first Garage48 Hardware & Arts hackathon in the Baltics we organised 5 years ago. As if the brightest minds and most skilled hands from the wood sector had gathered with the most outstanding ideas, to make something really awesome happen. New initiatives like Garage48 Wood tend to have a special magic in them, " comments Priit Salumaa on his experience, moderator and mentor of the event, Garage48 and Mooncascade co-founder.
Garage48 Wood was the opening event of the Wood & Furniture Project in the Interreg Estonia-Latvia Programme with the aim to connect working wood industry professionals, woodworking, design and architecture students & practicioners from Estonia and Latvia, and to give the wood industry practicioners a fast prototyping and innovating experience. And this is exactly what happened. The 100 participants of the hackathon divided into half between Estonia and Latvia, forming 18 Est-Lat teams who delivered working prototypes, from the initially 36 pitched ideas on Friday evening. Participants included students from Art Academy of Latvia, Estonian Academy of Arts and Ergli Vocational School, working practicioners from wood and furniture companies in Estonia and Latvia and woodworking hobbyists.
The 18 built prototypes ranged from wooden games to a system making it easier to create wooden buildings with various structures. Many ideas aimed at multifunctional and compact solutions in furniture or wooden products, such as a foldable fishing boat or smart furniture for dogs.
Garage48 Wood was made happen by Garage48, TSENTER Competence Centre for Wood Processing and Furniture Manufacturing and Vidzemes Planning Region. The project was financed by the Interreg Estonia-Latvia Programme and co-financed by the Ministry of Finance. The event was supported by Võru County Vocational Training Centre.
A huge part in making this hackathon into the success it was, is the amazing venue of the Väimela Tech House with it's amazing machine park and fully equipped woodworking rooms. The participants could make use of all the cool machines and tools thanks to the on-site wood processing teachers' squad, who were there for the whole weekend to make the machines roar and mentor the teams where needed. Super huge thank you to Andrus Luts, Arvi Lokk, Lauri Tasso, Urmas Paulus, Randi Sepping, Jaanis Tigas and Mart Nilson.
A special thank you goes to Jörgen Dobris, Wood Processing Development Manager at TSENTER, who made sure that everything in the wood workshops and with machines runs smoothly and provided the necessary materials for the teams, including a trip to the forest to get a tree trunk crucially needed.
We also had the pleasure to host Martin Melioranski (Architect, Director of 3D Lab) and Renee Puusepp (Architect & designer, Senior Researcher) from Estonian Academy of Arts, who mentored the teams throughout the whole event, PhD Aija Freimane (Associate professor, Postdoctoral Researcher in Design) from Art Academy of Latvia, Nauris Grandans (Laboratory Engineer) and Kristaps Ziverts (Testing Laboratory Quality Manager & Furniture Testing Engineer) from Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Institute in Latvia, who shared their knowledge and skills with the teams to help them make the best possible prototype. Thank you for spending your weekend with us!
A special thank you to the moderator, pitching coach and mentor Priit Salumaa, the co-founder of Garage48 and Mooncascade, who guided the event and the prototype delivering through the wood hacking crazyness.
This hackathon would not have happened without the manpower of the Estonian-Latvian organizing team: Anu Piirisild, Lauri Semevsky (TSENTER), Merle Tsirk (TSENTER), Laima Engere (Vidzeme Planing Region), Mara Rudite (Vidzeme Planning Region), Naula Dannenberga, Jörgen Dobris (TSENTER) and Kadri Kõivik (SPARK HUB). You are awesome!
But now it's time to meet the winners of Garage48 Wood:
OVERALL WINNER of Garage48 Wood
Prizes: Additional development weekend at Väimela Tech House & Local tasty prizes
Foldable wooden BikeBox, for a busy person's daily use!
BikeBox is always attached to your bicycle, fold it up to pack your goods inside, expand it regarding your needs and fix it! Best part is, that it is easy to attach and detach BikeBox to your bike, when you want to unload the bag inside!
Team: Tiina Pärtel (Team lead), Viesturs Laurs (Manager/Marketer), Ilze Janpavle (Manager/Marketer), Sander Tint (Engineer).
RUNNER-UP, Favourite of the Audience & Access to Ajujaht TOP 100
Prizes: Additional development weekend at Väimela Tech House + Tasty local prizes
An easy to carry, foldable, light and affordable leisure boat which can be used for recreational purposes such as fishing and nature sightseeing.
Team: Tiit Kolk (Team lead, Wood industry practicioner/professional), Martin Polikarpus (Wood industry praciticoner/professional), Rahul Puniani (Manager/Marketer), Kaarel Saar (Technologist), Matthew Mitt (Technologist), Remo Allikas (Technologist), Elza Dobičina (Designer/Architect), Kaisa Kalmet (Designer/Architect).
RUNNER-UP & Special Award for Design
Prizes: Additional development weekend at Väimela Tech House, Estonian Academy of Arts 3D chocolates, Tasty local prizes
Reinvented wooden garbage container that is more appropriate for urban space with added value currently under testing.
Team: Helmi Marie Langsepp (Designer/Architect), Kristel Alliksaar (Designer/Architect), Egert Uibo (Constructor), Oskars Kreišmanis (Tisler/Carpenter/Joiner), Kaspars Lagsdinž (Manager/Marketer).
Special Prize for Business Potential
Prize: Latitude59 tickets & Tasty local prizes
A wooden version of the shopping cart that is also a children’s car, with drastically improved user experience. Happy child = happy parent!
Team: Lauri Semevsky (Team lead, Engineer), Epp Marta Tarvis (Carpenter), Christopher Nõmmann (Designer, Constructor), Kevin Laus (Designer).
Special Prize for Engineering Innovation
Prize: Tasty local prizes
A universal joint for wooden structure elements, that can connect 3 or 4 any kind of structure elements together in one point. It makes it easier to build wooden structures in any shapes.
Team: Rudis Rubenis (Designer), Zane Kalnina (Wood industry practicioner/professional), Ritvars Krastins (Designer/Architect), Gyuri Jakabfi (Engineer, Designer/Architect), Paul Salumaa (Metal worker), Antra Viluma (Manager/Marketer), Aleksis Pavalkovics (Wood industry practicioner/professional).
Special Prize for Presentation
Hund Dog Station
Prize: Tasty local prizes & Battery energy drink
Smart furniture for dogs, that houses the dog’s food, drinks, toys and accessories. It also serves as an ergonomical dinner table that is adjustable and comfy for dogs of different sizes. We help dog owners to get organized.
Team: Mait Kaup (Team lead), Veiko Ilves (Tisler/Carpenter/Joiner), Lauri Visnapuu
(Tisler/Carpenter/Joiner), Keidy Säinas (Designer/Architect), Karin Oras (Marketer).
Most Fun Team
Prize: Battery energy drink
The team that rose from the ashes as they proved their initial idea to be impossible to make by Saturday morning, but generated a new idea by Sunday evening.
And remember - YOU ARE ALL WINNERS for taking this weekend to make new contacts, gain more self-confidence and have fun!