Lucy Menon

CREATIVE CO-WORKING IN CARDIFF | FEATURE

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Photo by Alper Çuğun / Flickr

Photo by Alper Çuğun / Flickr

For freelancers, it’s well known that when you work from home you will inevitably have moments of feeling totally isolated and uninspired. Being trapped within your own four walls without anyone to bounce your ideas off can become a bit of a downward spiral in terms of creative output. Luckily, Cardiff has been trying to meet these needs and since last summer, several creative co-working spaces have opened up around town, including Rabble Studio, The Sustainable Studio and Tramshed Tech.

Dan Spain, the man behind Rabble Studio, shared his thoughts on the need for such spaces. Being a designer himself, Dan had often felt frustrated when he could only work from home which is what sparked him to find an alternative place to work. He admits, “I couldn’t find anything suitable so I decided to create one.” Finding the right place was one of the hardest challenges but eventually Dan found a hidden gem in Cardiff Bay.

The building is an incredible structure and a wonderful combination of old meets new: the main work area has very high ceilings and wooden beams; the brickwork is partly showing through with the lower half of the walls clean, bright white. This creates an impression of vast space which is also emphasised by the large windows that let in loads of natural light – no more dark and dingy box-bedroom working for anyone using this space. There is also a more relaxed lounge area with picnic benches and sofas to encourage communal lunch-times. With eye-catching art on the walls and free tea and biscuits as a bonus, this really does feel like somewhere that could generate inspiration in creative individuals.

Dan says that “the emphasis for Rabble is very much social and it’s important to feel part of a community here.” He explains the diverse mix of people using the space already include, “designers, journalists, web-designers and app creators.” The emphasis is on feeling “totally comfortable” in this space and to move away from the idea of the “home-office” to more of an “office-home” where “it is essentially a work place but anyone there should feel totally comfortable to roll in a little worse for wear and treat the place as their own.” Anyone interested can apply for a work space or a dedicated space, depending on the need for part or full time use of the studio.  New attendees are also vetted by the current workers to ensure that everyone feels happy with the people they will be sharing a space with.

By revitalising old, historic or unusual spaces and turning them into something new and vital, these co-working spaces are filling a niche in the city for a dedicated co-working space while also allowing these neglected sites to flourish with purpose once more. These hubs certainly provide a productive alternative for workers and bring a friendly and cosy atmosphere that doesn’t make you want to give up the day job.

If you’re interested in seeing Rabble Studio for yourself, or indeed, The Sustainable Studio or Tramshed Tech then sign up to the Hub Crawl. The team at Creative Cardiff are working with the hubs to organise an opportunity to check out these spaces and speak to the enterprising individuals behind it all. Spaces are limited, but it has garnered so much interest that it’s possible there will be a repeat event. This one will be running from 4pm on Friday 3rd March, starting at Rabble Studio.  Tickets and information are available here.

words LUCY MENON

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