Spike Island to nurture start-up designers from the South West

Bristol’s contemporary art and design space Spike Island is launching a major bid to keep design talent in the South West, with a £380 000 mentoring grant from the South West Regional Development Agency.

Currently undergoing a £2.25m refurbishment, Spike Island will open its doors to 60 designers early next year, offering networked desk space, the mentoring services of designers such as Kinnear Dufort founder Ross Kinnear and Ian Proctor Design director Roger Proctor, as well as places to meet with clients.

‘Bristol is one of the hubs of the South West,’ explains Spike Island director Lucy Byatt. ‘But we lose so much of our talent. To keep them here, we need to provide the best level of innovation and services.’

The incubation programme will allow designers to work from Spike Island for three years. They will start out paying minimum rent and graduate to market prices. It is aimed at attracting ‘bedroom’ designers, who have already run their own studios and are seeking to branch out and go it alone, as well as young design groups.

‘As we developed capital investment ideas for Spike Island, it became obvious that a clear priority for the RDA was incubation. The money will enable us to invite the design community into the building,’ says Byatt.

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