*notcot in design , 00:07

Beakerhead 2014, Calgary- 09.15.14

beaker0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way! I know, i’m jumping around a little, but with so many pictures and experiences to share with you guys from this Alberta adventure, i’m working through it bit by bit!

The most inspiring things to me have always been exploring nature and art+tech+design. So while exploring all that Alberta has to offer (or what is possible in a mere week with such a HUGE province)… when we were heading out of the Alberta National Parks to Calgary, I heard about Beakerhead, a “smash up of art, science, and engineering”… which is right up our alley! They describe it as when Calgary turns into a hands on laboratory - “it’s a time and place where engineers show their creative sides, and artists get technical, where science hits the street, and everyone gets ingenious.” Throughout the week, there were workshops for kids and adults, engaging talks and performances, and it sounds like all around playful inspiration! They even had “Canada’s first sustainable energy ferris-wheel-turned-dining-room. The 16-bucket wheel gently rotates while diners are treated to a multi-course molecular gastronomy meal created by esteemed Calgary chef Nicole Gomes, a contestant on Top Chef Canada,” called the Periodic Table - unfortunately all the tickets were sold out!

We managed to get back to Calgary just in time to see the displays at Little Big Street and Beakernight. They felt a bit like a mini Makerfaire/Burning Man/Design week combo of sorts with a Calgary flair. Even The Uncommons (which we just featured) had a pop up shop in a Pod shipping container! There was a huge discoball on a crane, a structure made of sticks, an inflatable living room, interactive/3D printed Absolut installations, a rideable hippo, a flame shooting octopus and more… take a peek at what we found on the next page!

What is Beakerhead? beaker00.jpg

Wandering the streets… the SW/SE directions are so confusing in Calgary! We went the wrong way using a google map point from the website… oops! But luckily it lead us past some fun street art - which i assume is Beakerhead related? It must be, right? beaker1.jpg

The ones on the other side had even been colored in with chalk… So cute! beaker2.jpg

Watching the sun setting over Calgary was pretty spectacular. So different from the ones we were finding out in Jasper and Banff. It has been incredible seeing how many new buildings are in Calgary with SO many more on the way. It’s hard to ignore how much building and road construction is going on in this quickly growing/evolving city. beaker3.jpg

Giant discoball hanging from a crane! beaker4.jpg

This setup from Absolut wants you to tweet at Absolut Canada with the hashtag and a color and the installation will change colors. beaker5.jpg

Basically, there is lighting above and below… and the bottles are held together with 3D printed caps and zip ties. Lovely effect from such a basic concept. The only bummer was that the display was so far in the 18+ bar section that people on the other side of the fence couldn’t hear about how to interact with it! beaker6.jpg

Absolut also had a proximity sensor Vortex Bottle - where putting your hand over the sensor would create the vortex… probably from spinning a magnet to pull a bead (or something magnetic?) inside around. beaker7.jpg

Steampunk Blender! beaker8.jpg

Some interesting pop up structures - from a tiny house, stick house, inflatable living room, and fun activity spaces for kids. beaker9.jpg


The Uncommons Pod store pop up! beaker11.jpg

Neon Peacock Organ Car! beaker12.jpg

Rideable Hippo! beaker13.jpg

Crazy wearable robot suit… beaker14.jpg

Gnome that shoots flames out of his head? beaker15.jpg

And here’s Beakernight in action as El Pulpo the octopus (from burning man 2011) shoots flames to music in the background as the hippo full of folks rides by.

While it was a shock to be out of the dark, quiet, natural surroundings of the national parks the last few days - it was a rush to see so many people (kids and adults alike) so excited about fun art + design + technology coming together! Super excited to keep an eye on how Beakerhead grows next year, maybe it will be a good excuse to get back up to Alberta!

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