“You come to Mar Mikhael, you go up Gholam Stairs, from there you take your left and keep going straight,” says Guillaume Crédoz, effortlessly guiding me to the location of the recently open research and manufacturing lab theBAKERY. It was strange taking directions from a Frenchman in my own hometown. But he seemed to know every nook and cranny in that East Beirut neighborhood, which has cemented itself in the past few years as the city’s creative hub. “If you get lost, ask for the old ‘furn’,” he continues, using the Arabic word for bakery. The space used to be the site of a community kiln for some 30 years, and so it takes no stretch of the imagination to understand why the new workshop sports this name.

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Inside theBAKERY, I find Crédoz, a seasoned architect, artist and educator, engrossed in one of his many designs. This is the setting for the first 3D printing and rapid manufacturing street shop in the Middle East, my host tells me. Many entities coexist in this space, most notably “RapidManufactory”, the workshop that offers the rapid manufacturing technology and services with its 3D printer and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) stations. You will also find there “Souraya Ceramic”, the ceramic workshop and shop of Crédoz’s trusted partner, Souraya Haddad, a ceramist and landscape architect.

It additionally plays home to the research and design studio, or “BlobStudio”, as the co-founders like to call it, as well as the display and exhibit area of theBAKERY.

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Crédoz is more than happy to show me around the 120 square-meter space, which unveiled around nine months ago. There is not an iota of shame in his voice, however, about the shockingly messy interior – we are after all in a hardcore workshop. (Helpful hint for the ladies: stilettos are seriously frowned upon here). “The first 3D printing shop to open worldwide was in New York [not so long] ago. I guess we are the second one, and the only one to mix wood, steel and ceramic with rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing,” says Crédoz, beaming with pride. “It is a completely new and affordable output to any digital design, but also as plain and bare as a photocopy shop – but for objects,” he adds about the cutting edge service that he is credited with bringing to Beirut.