If you find yourself flipping through the September issue of Dwell magazine be sure to stop on page 79 for a look at a sweet, small studio space at a home in Sweden. Designed by Elding Oscarson the studio is detached from the rest of the home but is connected by an outdoor patio space. This would be a nice arrangement and a very reasonable commute. On page 22 Dwell also purports to have a slide show of “home workplaces” on their website but I can’t find it. Let me know if you do because I’d like to see the collection.
Photographer Jim Brandenburg takes his home studio seriously enough that he had David Salmela design it (along with the rest of the house) and it looks like an amazing place to work. The irony of course is that Brandenburg, a renowned wildlife photographer, spends lots of time traveling to spectacular locations outside his studio. This is probably the most classic case of having one’s cake and eating it too that has ever come to my attention and while a lesser man would be jealous I can assure you that I am merely green with envy.
Even if a gorgeous, two story studio bordering the Boundary Waters is not in your budget at the moment now is a great time to listen to the architect himself talk about it. David Salmela will be speaking at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis on Wednesday, July 14th at 7:00 p.m.. Also speaking will be Tom Fisher who is Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota and the author of two books about Salmela’s work. They’ll be signing copies of the first book and talking about the second which is due in spring 2011. It’s sure to be inspiring for anyone in search of quality space. See you there.
My brother gave me a great book by Ana G. Canizares entitled 500 Solutions for Working at Home. It’s 423 pages of solid inspiration organized by type, including studios design for personal use, architecture, design, art and services. Each case study includes not just beautiful photographs but details, square footage and floor plans. This book is full of clever solutions from humble to lavish. At $15 new / $8 used (at Amazon) your investment could be as little as one and a half cents per studio solution. Of course there is a ton of inspiration online but it can be hard to track down and usually won’t come with this level of detail so this book is pretty good way to augment your search.
Here’s an interesting example. The two man web design shop Yummy Gum in the Netherlands renovated a small 215 square foot room into a beautiful studio space. An example of 215 square feet is a room that is 10 by 21.5 feet – larger than your average bedroom. Maybe not large enough if you added flat files, a silk screen and a paste-up table. However, unlike a simple desk in a corner this feels like a dedicated space where you could be dedicated to creative work. Check out the original post on Unplggd for more images of the clever ways they’ve kept the clutter (particularly all the wires) hidden away. I dig the cool laptop slot under the table (photo 2).
There are more home tours on Unplggd. They’re not all office or studio spaces but there are some interesting and inspiring ideas.
Many designers dream of starting a studio of their own. Somewhere between that vision and the beautiful agency spaces we’re used to working in lies reality: the home office. The benefits are obvious; no commute, fully stocked kitchen with no one else’s coffee cups in the sink, the ability to work outside or with your favorite music blasting. The drawback is that the work space is often crammed into the extra bedroom or the basement and nothing like the light and airy agency spaces we’re accustomed to. Space is critical to creative problem solvers because we constantly need to be drawing energy and inspiration to feed our work. What’s more, an insufficient space is a creative problem waiting to be solved and presents a distraction to getting our actual work done.
So, is it possible to rise above home office doom and create a studio space with all the benefits of being at home but without spending a fortune?
I’ve been looking around to see if I can find a way to believe the answer is yes. In doing so I’ve found a few sites that showcase amazing office spaces of the thousands of square feet variety:
This Ain’t No Disco
Office Design Gallery
Working for yourself doesn’t mean huge budgets for office furniture but think of the money saved not commuting and not paying rent. Think of the money you don’t need to spend on agency style conference rooms and signage. Surely someone has found a way to put some of that savings into a home studio space that inspires creative endeavor? I think I’ll keep looking into it and will share what I find here. More and more people I know are launching out on there own – first rate talent – and they deserve a first rate studio in which to ply their craft. More soon.
Physical work space is particularly important to designers. Not just to designers obviously but that’s what I’m familiar with. On the one hand, we need a wide variety of resources readily at hand but don’t want the place to look like a kindergarten classroom. On the other hand, we have labored for years to develop refined taste but often don’t have the interior design budget of a Wall Street firm that has a lot of government bailout money to throw around. It can be tricky to figure out how to integrate these competing interests. As with all things the power of example is… well… powerful. I’ve long wanted to assemble a collection of local design shop spaces but as the saying goes “He who hesitates is lost.”
So, it is with the urgency and sense of self-satisfaction of an Emergency Medical Technician arriving on the scene just in time to prevent a tragic interior design disaster that I present Office Snapshots. It’s a great site in blog format that showcases a ton of office spaces that can be sorted by industry (Including advertising and graphic design) or location (including Minneapolis’ Blu Dot, Mono, Walker Art Center). Now I happen to know for a fact that there are many other amazing office spaces in the Twin Cities so check out the site and then submit your cool space and let help MSP get the credit it deserves.