How do you create a studio that’s right for you?

Designers tell us how they set up the perfect studio spaces for their consultancies.

Heidi Lightfoot, creative director and co-founder, Together Design
Heidi Lightfoot, creative director and co-founder, Together Design

“When I look around our studio space I realise how perfectly it represents the collection of people within, who together, create Together. It’s open-plan for collaboration. It has tools for craft: paper, scalpels, paint brushes, string, tape, swatch books and, yes, computers. We have a well-stocked library for research and a large meeting table to share ideas. It’s full of creative mess, brilliant minds and many random packs of biscuits and chocolate. It’s the perfect space for us.”


Natasha Chetiyawardana
Natasha Chetiyawardana, creative partner and co-founder, Bow & Arrow

“We thought about the way we work best (collaboratively, mixed-discipline, fluidly, informally) and who we are (confident, energetic, creative, strategic) which resulted in a flexible, creative space which is simultaneously professional and clean.

Because we treated it like a paid-for project and went through the creative process we would use for a client, we were able to create something that was perfect for our brand, the way we wanted to use our space and also for our clients.”


Tom Sharp, creative director, The Beautiful Meme
Tom Sharp, creative director, The Beautiful Meme

“We moved from York to London’s Whitechapel a year ago. We found a big, open run-down studio. Our first act was to have a mural of Austin Osman Spare’s work painted on a central wall.

AOS was a London artist and occultist who died in 1956. His illustrations are beautiful and he invented chaos magic.

As the mural was completed all the lights went out in the building. This seemed to set the tone nicely.”


Alan Dye, director and designer, NB Studio
Alan Dye, director and designer, NB Studio

“I love our studio!

It’s filled with wonderful talented characters, some beautiful furniture, an incredible library of books and natural sunlight.

It’s an old warehouse, spitting distance from Tate Modern and 200 yards from The Globe and Thames. We sell design, and Nick [Finney] and I have always liked the idea that in travelling to NB, clients experience all kinds of things; culture, history, markets and the Thames, before we show them any work…”


David Simpson, chief executive and executive creative director, Music
David Simpson, chief executive and executive creative director, Music

“As we outgrew our previous office we were split over three floors and the overriding feeling within the agency was one of chaos.

We discovered our current office, which was a burnt-out shell, and we were able to work with the architect to make the space our own.

The day we moved in a calm fell over the agency that remains to this day, it’s to do with the proportions of the space and the simplicity and warmth of the interior.”


Sean Thomas, creative director, JKR
Sean Thomas, creative director, JKR

“Our previous studio had come to dictate the limits of how we functioned.

Prior to moving in 2013, our founding partner Ian Ritchie worked with the architects in designing our new space to fulfil our future vision.

It’s transformed the agency and made us masters of our own destiny. Oval Road allows us to be a community, get in guest speakers, have fun and – most importantly – create. Jones Knowles Ritchie is now a collective spirit rather than a group of departments.”


Stephen Bell, executive creative director, Coley Porter Bell
Stephen Bell, executive creative director, Coley Porter Bell

“In creating our new studio space we had three main things in mind.

Firstly, something really inspirational. Fortunately this part was easy, as our new home is on the tenth floor of the newly refurbished Sea Containers building on London’s South Bank, so we have amazing vistas of the Thames, St Paul’s and the City. 

Secondly, it needed to visually represent Coley Porter Bell, so we invited the whole company to add to a Pinterest board. This provided ideas for colour, furniture, art and objects that helped form the brief for the interior design.

Lastly, the space had to function for the way we want to work. We have planned a space with a combination of fixed stations and agile desks and benches so that we can work flexibly around our project needs. It doesn’t hurt that we will have a roof-top bar and restaurant either!”


Matt Baxter, Baxter and Bailey
Matt Baxter, creative director, Baxter and Bailey

“In the late summer of 2015, we moved our main studio from east London to Brighton. A momentous move in many ways, but we were keen to maintain business as usual. Before we moved, we were able to scout and find a space that allowed for this continuity: it had space for our worryingly extensive library and space to break out and talk, good daylight, security, and was handy for transport. In short, all of the things which allow us to work efficiently and happily.

Equally importantly, we wanted to be able to make our mark on the new space. Fortuitously, our first project here in Brighton was the naming, visual identity and signage for this newly established studio space, The Colour Rooms. The previous life of this building – as a Dulux storage warehouse – was a design gift we couldn’t ignore. We included paint pots, signwriting and Dulux colours in the solution. Having made our painty mark, we’re very much at home.” 


Discover more:

• Design Week Studio Sessions #1 – Koto on setting up a studio

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