Old world craft and new world tech meet in Franklinton

As Columbus continues to build its reputation as a city known for creativity and innovation, the Columbus Idea Foundry continues to build its reputation as one of the reasons why.

The Foundry's recently opened second floor finds the maker space going digital, its next-level tech bent evident in its commitment to virtual reality, web development and gaming — for starters, anyway.

Founder and CEO Alex Bandar called the second-floor expansion a combination of “old world craft and modern tech.”

“For a place that features skills like blacksmithing and wood turning, I love having a place that also has 3-D capability,” Bandar said.

“We didn't build this to be digital-exclusive,” said the Foundry's Chief Experience Officer Kris Howell. “But it's obvious. This is where the world is.”

Offices and co-working space designed to appeal to digital markets such as software and app development, web design and the like have attracted tenants including game and app developer Multivarious Games and corporate/start-up innovation and technology development firm Taivara, young-but-established firms whose work is heavy on tech.

Taivara Founder and CEO Brooke Paul spoke of the “access to a robust maker community” and a “culture of creativity and innovative” thinking as reasons his firm fits in a space primarily known for traditional forms of making. “Adding [more technology] will up the number of creative collisions,” he said.

“In my mind, this is [also] a maker space,” Multivarious CEO Chris Volpe said of the second floor. “The reputation of the Idea Foundry is focused on creating and getting things done. That's my jam. Here you're going to have the ability to make stuff and the ability to meet new people who want to solve problems.”

The Foundry's second floor also includes larger spaces for a variety of kinds of events, including live performances, video presentations and even social or corporate gatherings.

In all, the addition carries on the Foundry's ethic of democratizing the making process, Howell said.

“It's a place where that kind of thing just comes naturally,” he said.