philafad’s four year anniversary!

Four years ago on a snowy Sunday afternoon, about 25 people gathered together in a rowhome in South Philly to network and to learn from each other. The room was full of my immediate network and the networks of others in the room. On that day, February 9, 2014, philafad started and began to gain traction. Three more events were held that spring. As of this winter, fifteen successful events have brought small businesses in the fabrication, architecture, and design community together.

Thank you to all have been involved in this venture and to all who have supported me, many from the beginning. I’ve met amazing people in Philly in beyond, and have gained introductions to so many interesting folks who are doing good work in the region. My heart is happy when I hear that philafad has fostered collaborations and business partnerships. philafad was started for a selfish reason – I wanted my friends with businesses to thrive and to STAY in Philly. Fortunately, my wish has been granted. Here’s to more years of philafad and to growing the network. Now, Go Make Things.

Heather E Coyne



philafad & AIA Presents Makers + Designers

philafad and AIA Philadelphia are partnering together to present Maker and Designer, the second installment in the AIA Philadelphia’s Design Dialogues series. Design Dialogues was started by AIA Philadelphia’s Design Committee in order to raise the level of discussion about design from multiple perspectives, with the intent of building relationships across different disciplines within the Philadelphia region.

This Maker and Designer Dialogue brings together four pairs of local architects and fabricators who have joined together on projects. Learn how their collaborations formed, how they designed together, how they learned from each other, and what challenges they overcame. There will be plenty of time for discussion and questions after the presentations.

This event is free to philafad, AIA, and NextFab members. All others are only $10. Please RSVP to help with planning. It’s no fun fighting over the last beer or cookie.

Make sure to arrive on time so that you can take a tour of NextFab’s facilities (and to network, of course)!


Start 2018 with TWO great opportunities

NUMBER ONE: A listening session at the City: The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce is committed to helping businesses grow and thrive in Philadelphia. In order to do so, they need to hear from you—the businesses—on opportunities, needs, and pain points.

Join in the conversation on Wednesday, January 24th from 4:00-5:30 at the Department of Commerce at 1515 Arch St, 12th Floor. There’s space for 12, but another venue can be found if more people respond. This event is targeted to fabricators, but other business types are welcome, too.
Please RSVP to or

More info:

NUMBER TWO:  On Thursday, February 22nd, philafad and AIA Philadelphia are hosting a joint event at NextFab at North 4th.

We need your help! We are looking for architect and fabricator teams who have collaborated on projects together. Three teams will discuss and present their work, and offer answers to questions such as “how did you form this collaboration?”, “what was successful and what was a challenge?”, and “how would you change the design or contract process to make this a better partnership?”.

This moderated discussion intends to present all scales and types of work/projects, so we will carefully select the three teams to provide for a diverse panel. We’ll have AV capabilities, so teams will be able to share visuals with the audience.

Interested? Write a brief proposal and send to The AIA and NextFab will also be reaching out for participants.

Of course, for all others not on the panel, please SAVE THE DATE and join us.

Meet the exhibitors! philafad DesignPhiladelphia Open House

October 10th is coming soon and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone at BOK. Learn more about the businesses who will be presenting their work.

Assimilation Design Lab

Buckminster Green

Bicyclette Furniture

Exit Velocity Design

Fortino Fabrication

GJDesign & Architecture PC

Ian Smith Design Group

Jason Roberts Metalworks

Kendon Photography

LIGHTFAST design + build

Milder Office

Remark Glass

Sage Project Management

Sam Oberter Photography

Toner Architects


philafad at DesignPhiladelphia

philafad’s DesignPhiladelphia Open House is shaping up to be quite an exhibit. Join us on Tuesday, October 10th from 4:00 PM-8:00 PM at the BOK Building. We’ll have over 15 fabricators, architects, designers, contractors, and architectural photographers on hand to show off the work that they produce as small businesses in Philadelphia. Come and network with these makers and find your next collaboration.

KEEP Philadelphia great

philafad is committed to strengthening our community and to growing local businesses as a way to keep Philadelphia great. Come and network and be a part of this commitment. You’ll have plenty of opportunities in 2017 to do so.

  • February 8th – Wood, tools, and beautiful furniture – philafad visits Michelle Lipson Woodworking. (See more below)
  • March 21st (tentative date) – Kitchen Design – Visit the beautiful Fretz showroom in the Navy Yard to learn about Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances and the latest in kitchen design.
  • May 9th – Funding discussion at Tiny WPA -Hear firsthand about arts funding from DC-based staff of the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Art Works” program Philly funders will also join in the discussion. Our hosts will be Tiny WPA, a non-profit who empowers the community to design and build and become leaders.

BRB Roundtable

Heather Coyne has been invited to participate as a speaker in Councilwomen-at-Large Blondell Reynolds Brown’s Women’s Leadership and Initiative Brown Bag Lunch Series. Come hear about “Building Cities, Building Careers” on Wednesday, March 23rd. The Brown Bag Lunch is from Noon-1:30 at City Hall, City Council Caucus Room. Come hear from Heather and other women leaders in the design and construction industry.

Event #7 – Networking on the American Street Corridor

It’s a progressive party to visit the workshops of three philafad members, all along the 2100 block of North American Street. Here’s the agenda – arrive early to not miss anything! There’s plenty of street parking, or the 57 bus drops you off at the door.Join philafad on Thursday, October 1st from 6-9 to see what is happening at the production studio of LIGHTFAST design + build, the Jig Bee Flower Farm, & the studio of Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design. The first event of the fall is free & open to all. Come expand your network on the American Street corridor.

It’s a progressive party to visit the workshops of three philafad members, all along the 2100 block of North American Street. Arrive by 6:30 or earlier so you don’t miss anything. There’s plenty of street parking, or the 57 bus drops you off at the door.

The event is free, but please purchase your tickets to help with planning:—making-growing-and-designing/