Address: V22 Studios, Peckham
Staff: 2 + freelance
Hours: Typically 9.30am till 6.30pm (often there are late nights and very early mornings for retail installs or larger builds)
We setup the studio about three years ago. Initially we took on jobs on a part-time basis but have been operating full-time from our studio in Peckham for the last year and a half. We started out designing and building installations for institutions such at the V&A which gave us great freedom to explore 3D design. As we have grown, we have started working on more commercial projects, such as creating window displays and sets for fashion shoots. The mixture of work has always been varied and it’s what keeps things interesting – it doesn’t feel like work most days.
There are just two full time members of staff, ourselves (Isabel Gibson and Helen Chesner). We have a team of designers, builders and assistants that we employ on a freelance basis depending on the projects we have on. It makes for a really fluid work environment where every week is different to the next. It also means we get to work with a variety of people, each with their own unique skills set – from architects to carpenters.
What is important about the working environment?
A place and enough space to make mess if we need to!
What was it about this space that made it right?
Having enough room for a workshop and a quieter desk area was really important to us when looking for a space. Also the lovely big windows was a winner, as lots of light is key to any good work place! - the ladder up onto the roof was a definite deal breaker.
What’s the best thing about the studio?
We love the communal aspect. We share with other designers/makers and the building itself is full of different people all doing exciting things. There’s lots of illustrators and photographers who are always popping by for a cup of tea and it’s great to collaborate with them.
How would you talk about the studio culture?
It is a space where you are free to dabble – we often build quick prototypes of ideas to test whether they will be successful or not, having the workshop give us the opportunity to design by making or vice versa. Most of the time the studio has a relaxed atmosphere. We normally listen to the radio when we’re building, or our friend Dan who shares the space with us, often takes on the roll of studio DJ. He’s recently got back from South America so there’s been lots of latino going on. We’re out in the sticks so for lunch we make grilled cheese sandwiches and salads for who ever is in on that particular day or go to the local Millwall cafe which does a fantastic fry up! There’s also an ice-cream van that visits most days and now knows to park up outside our window.
What do you look for when recruiting and adding the team?
Enthusiastic, hard-working and passionate about what they do!
Are there any self initiated studio projects projects?
We often collaborate with photographers and do personal projects when we get time. These are not necessarily for a client but more just to broaden our portfolio and try out new approaches. Pick Me Up was a really exciting personal project for us a couple of months back, we exhibited a series of automated instruments in the exhibition at Somerset House. It was great to work with a completely open brief and spend time exploring different kinetic possibilities to create sounds.