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Hackney Downs

Co-working studio


Location : Palmspace, Hackney Downs Studios, London, UK

Client : Eat Work Art network

Year : 2017

Stage: Completed

Palmspace is pioneering the concept of ‘co-making’, which encourages makers to collaborate and share ideas. Spaces are therefore versatile, hard-wearing and adaptable – work surfaces are made of parquet flooring reclaimed from schools across London. Managed by creative spaces company Eat Work Art, Palmspace is the newest addition to a network of work spaces across London that make use of previously abandoned sites such as Netil House in London Fields and Old Paradise Yard in Lambeth.

The space – which was launched by Hackney Downs Studios and created by an in-house design team, Young in Architects – has individual workspaces set apart by steel-framed shelves, which double as drying racks.

There are also desks for members working on laptops, and even a nook for office dogs.

"We wanted to create a space that would allow people producing work in a physical or tangible medium to access the shared space," said designer Alfie Lay.

"This required a much more robust design, with plenty of storage for materials."

The design team sourced reclaimed parquet flooring, taken from derelict school buildings in and around London, and used it to cover desks. The metal shelving was treated, to lend it a raw, industrial finish, and bare pendants are dotted about the space.

The building's garden also formed a key part of the design. The area is accessed by a central glass door, and echoed inside by leafy plants that are placed around the office.

"The garden was totally overgrown when we started working on it," added Lay. "So many people don't have gardens at their homes, we thought it would be great if we could give people a chance to connect with the outside world at work instead."

"We wanted to bring the outside in as much as we could, whilst maintaining some of the original nature of the space."

The workspace also runs monthly workshops, and offers a sliding scale of membership prices. It's part of the Eat Work Art network, which has converted disused buildings across London into workspaces.

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