The Werks - WerkShed
by Christopher Spring
Earlier this year I was invited by The Werks, to have a look at their new space The Werkshed. This company can be best described as managing creative space, with 9 spaces in their portfolio, from the very large making spaces, like the Werkshed, to the more digitally focused office space in the Pier Werks, this company seems to have creativity at the centre of their thought process.
The space itself is a large warehouse on an industrial estate just round the corner from Hove station. The space has been segregated into sections with temporary wooden flats creating individual workspaces each roughly 12’ x 12’ in size. For £320 a month you can rent a fully adaptable space with power and lighting.
Ian Elwick, the CEO of The Werks Group, explained to me: “We facilitate small makers at the moment, but anything from small scale jewellery all the way up to fully functioning Television sets can and have been made in this space. Our focus is investing in an infrastructure to enable others to be able to make.”
“Infrastructure” in this case is a well put together and thought through space, from an area kept clear intentionally for welding and other dangerous or messy processes, to a massive entrance and exit as well as plans for a second storey mezzanine to create even more space.
The ambition and ethos shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Elwick’s background - creating the Brighton Media Centre in 1992 as the first ever digital “hub” with over 500 businesses based within it by the year 2000. Leaving in 2002, he returned in 2014 to combine the Werks and BMC with Martin Bouette a designer and researcher with a PHD in creative entrepreneurship
With space for over 50 makers by the time of completion, the only thing stopping creativity in this space as far as I can see is a lack of ambition, health and safety (there is wood) and possibly if the space is noisy at full at peak-time. Apart from that there are creatives of all disciplines here - jewellers, carpenters, bike restorers and sculptors all in residence.
It’s an exciting time, and well worth having a look.
Here - http://www.werksgroup.org.uk/about/team/