Back again to design a space at the Film School - AFTRS. This time a creative workspace for the Masters Students in a large industrial part of the building that used to be the props store.
I loved doing this job. Creativity is a magical life-giving force and to beckon it into a space between four walls and encourage it to set up shop is both a challenge and a privilege…
With the exposed industrial ceiling and concrete floors, the first thing was to warm the space up, add a human element. The white plastic desks were banished and the concrete block walls painted with mineral lime-wash.
A big thing was adding different levels. Recently I read a detective novel where an old policeman would come to the crime scene with a milk crate- he would stand on it and get a new take on the case. In the Masters Space this was achieved with a conversation pit, a little deck and building a timber wall on top of an existing concrete half wall. This created window nooks where students could look down onto the neighbouring equestrian centre.
The space had to be carved up and given form & meaning. Large timber columns were added, painted in an unobtrusive grey to suggest a loft atmosphere. Inspired by Chinese Moon Gates a plywood flat with a circular portal was constructed to lead into the main area.
I wanted to keep a certain rawness to the space and used with seagrass matting, retro furniture sourced from Gumtree, a beaded curtain replacing a serious looking door. So that the students would feel relaxed, could make the space theirs, and not feel like they had to be on their best behaviour.
This playful & slightly unfinished quality giving the space a feeling of potential - of conversations between people, ideas & brainstorming - the student projects to come....