Earlier this year we completed a big Wizard Works milestone, we moved into a new studio.
We had completely outgrown our previous space in Peckham and had been searching for a new home for almost a year when we finally struck gold. The gold we struck was in North Greenwich, right by the O2, in a little place called the Design District.
The Design District has been described as a ‘managed jumble’ of buildings, 16 to be exact, designed by 8 different architects. All eight were given the same brief and left to work independently of each other, resulting in playful, ‘streets’ that wind around the district’s unique buildings. From structures clad in rusty metal, to a caterpillar inspired canteen and a roof top basketball court, around every corner is a surprise.
In an interview with The Guardian, Matt Dearlove, head of design for the peninsula at Knight Dragon said “Places that people like are generally messy and designed by lots of different hands. We wanted this to be a place with Marmite moments, where you turn a corner and see something you think is amazing, or you might have the opposite reaction.” For any new build area, the risk is a sterile environment where everything looks the same. By making the Design District intentionally chaotic and mishmashed, the vibe is ‘piece of city’ rather than a soulless new suburb.
“Working with a wide range of architects has resulted in multiple styles of building and types of space. This variety has helped us to attract an eclectic group of creative businesses who work and think in divergent ways.” - Helen Arvanitakis, director, Design District
How did we get so lucky?
We found out about The Design District by chance, a very happy accident it turns out. Arriving in September 2021 for our first visit, D2 (our building) was still a building site, but the protective film that covered the outside had just been removed to reveal the beautiful green façade, it shone majestically in the low autumnal sun, and we were instantly in love. We crunched some numbers, wrote a lengthy pros and cons list, and asked if we could take the unit. It was a long and anxious wait, but in November we got the best news, we had been approved by the board! Donned in hi vis vests and safety helmets, the whole team went for a site visit.
In January the building was finally finished, we got the keys in February and the fit out could begin. Gimme Studio headed the design and construction of the space, we wanted a bright and playful workshop, and they absolutely delivered! After a few team painting days, and a lot of trips in the van, we were finally in.
In our new space we have room for all the machines (and more next month), a second prep table, an office and a storeroom! Yup, no more fabric-roll Tetris under the stairs! It also meant we were also able to employ another person on the floor, Alfie. Believe it or not, there was no room for any more staff members in our old studio, that’s how full it was!
Our emerald castle and into the future.
Our building (D2) is designed by Mole Architects, they also designed building C2. Structurally they are very similar; both are timber buildings, and both are clad in metal. But visually they are very different, C2 is clad with a rusty steel, and our building with an iridescent green/blue aluminum, both claddings are a nod to Greenwich Peninsula’s history as the home of what was once Europe’s largest gasworks. Our beautiful colour changing façade is meant to evoke the shifting shades of a gas flame, how special!
We share D2 with ultra-cool sneaker designer Helen Kirkum, trend forecasters Fford Studio and photography charity The Photography Foundation. When searching for a new space, it was important to us to find somewhere with ‘community vibes’, so we couldn’t be happier.
We are very excited that we will be able to grow in this space, we predict that we could double the production team and machine fleet. We also plan to be able to offer more in person meet ups and events, including shopping evenings, talks and hangouts.
Pretty much we’re just real happy to be here and hope we can show you around one day soon!