Courier Life Lifestyle Manufacturing

Home from home

More time is spent at work than at home and yet few people devote the care and attention to their nine-to-five space that gets lavished on where they crash out after hours. Here, seven people who have created spaces especially conducive to working explain what they love about their ‘office’. We also speak to a workspace designer about what makes a great space.

Ejing Zhang Design

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Founder: Ejing Zhang
Founded: March 2015
Lowdown: Design studio hand-making jewellery and products for the home with mixed materials.
Location: Cockpit Arts, Holborn

‘This space has incredible natural light and two separate areas for production and design, plus I share the studio with other creative people.’

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Earl of East London

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Founders: Paul Firmin and Niko Dafkos
Founded: July 2014
Lowdown: ‘The Earl’ brings together products from around the world while developing its own line of handmade candles and other goods.

Location: Netil Market, London Fields and Leytonstone

‘Both Netil Market and our studio space have allowed us to flourish without being burdened with huge overheads. Netil has been an incredible shop window for our brand (it proved too small to fit a planned workspace in) and our at-home studio allows us to find a sense of work-life balance despite juggling multiple projects.’

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The Pickle House

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Founder: Florence Cherruault
Founded: January 2014
Proposition: Cherruault produces a pickle juice used in a number of cocktails, especially picklebacks and bloody marys.

Location: Haggerston

‘The best thing about the space is the street it’s on. The other people in the arches all do completely different things and it’s been great getting to know them, particularly when everyone spills out onto the street in the summer.’

The Common

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Founder: Mark Sciberras
Founded: January 2014
Lowdown: The Common houses both a public cafe and Sciberras’s architecture studio in one open-plan space.
Location: Bethnal Green

‘We’ve got good coffee and food, and a community of regulars that come in to freelance or for weekend brunch. Its open nature means I often talk to patrons about architecture – something that has brought quite a lot of business into the studio.’

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Studio Thomas

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Founders Thomas Austin, James Homer and Thomas Coombes
Founded October 2014
Proposition Multi-disciplinary design studio that creates brands, books, websites, packaging and art direction.

Location Hackney Wick

‘The space is affordable for us and has lots of light – two things that are hard to come by for any London-based business.’

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Dovile B

DSC_8731 copyFounder: Dovile Bertulyte

Founded: May 2015

Lowdown: Jewellery designer combining traditional craftsmanship with her own silicone techniques to create original textures, shapes and colours.
Location: Cockpit Arts, Holborn

‘My work bench is compact but it fits all the tools I need to spend hours here making
and experimenting. Being in a shared space also means that I’m surrounded by other inspiring creatives.’

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Caren Hartley

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Founder: Caren Hartley
Founded: 2014
Proposition: A Royal College of Art-trained sculptor, Hartley has translated the skills she’s learned into creating steel bicycles tailored to fit each customer.

Location: Peckham Rye

‘My studio is full of light and there’s a great mix of other people working in the building, including fellow frame fabricator Jake Rusby who I share my space with.’

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Creating an effective workspace 

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James Geekie, the design director at Area Sq – which has fitted out offices for companies like Virgin, the BBC and Playfish – outlines the ingredients for a nice place to work. 

‘Along with obvious things such as natural light, one of the increasingly important things for a workspace is variety, which allows founders and employees to move around the space and work from different areas, to choose where to work, meet and collaborate.

You can do this pretty simply by having a selection of standing and sit-down desks, installing a small booth, a shared table, or even having a sofa to work from. We’ve found that people who have the option to do this work more effectively.

Also, think about removing the concept of ‘my space’; not everyone necessarily needs their own desk.
A long table with some power points can work just as well as individual desks and can also get more efficiency out of a space – you’ll normally find that not everyone needs that 120cm x 70cm desk to work from.’

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This story originally appeared in Courier April/May.