Commune is a co-working, design, event, workshop space in Erskineville. Home to an exciting group of interior designers, event planners and graphic artists, it is setting the benchmark for co-working spaces in Australia.
“We wanted a really easy going, fun yet respectful vibe at COMMUNE and we also want to ensure that we have a really good mix of disciplines to add to the creative collective hot pot - and that's exactly what we've got.” Deb Morgan
How was the space first identified and who was contacted to secure it?
The collective space has been a dream of ours for a long time. Deb had been looking into the idea for several years and had tried out working from other shared spaces only to feel disappointed with the reality (not the harmonious collaborative vibe she was hoping for, but more of a hotdesk vibe). Sam & Deb met and realised they had a very similar idea for a creative shared space and quickly started looking for spaces. Our friend Matt Woods (Interior Designer extroadinare) lived around the corner from the warehouse that is now COMMUNE and alerted us to the fact that it was up for lease. We stepped foot inside and knew it would soon be ours.
What was required to secure the space?
Not much actually. A few beers to discuss the proposition, filling out a rental application, sweet talking the real estate agent and HEY PRESTO. We were approved.
What were the costs?
The elements to get the place to a standard that we were happy to welcome people in were:
- pine tables
- desk chairs
- fitting the storeroom with raw wood doors so we could lock our photography gear in there (it previously had a set of lovely 90's curtains on it)
- shelving units
- fridge & kitchen stuff
- some vintage couches
- getting a server installed and hooked up
- getting megapipe installed
- changing the fluro's to exposed drop globes
- Putting up a website
- plants - very important!
- throwing the best opening party of all time.
... and of course getting the Create or Die neon produced...how could we possibly open the doors without it?
There are also a fair few items we brought with us from home or previous styling jobs.
What were the resources available to you?
Really just ourselves and our bare hands. It all happened very quickly and we didn't have too much time to look into available resources outside our inner circles - such as grants etc.
Who helped you to fit it out?
We mainly did it all ourselves! (With the help of Dads, cousins and a couple of close friends). We come from production, design and styling backgrounds & we love a good trip to Bunnings and getting our hands dirty.
What were/are the obstacles?
The initial outlay of money to set up was obviously a bit of an obstacle and finding the time to set everything up in between studio jobs.
What were/are the risks?
Not covering costs! The fact that we wanted to keep the space fairly spacious (not cram too many people in) added with our decision to be quite selective about the mix of people in the space made the risk of not being able to cover our costs greater - it's an ongoing balancing act but we're getting there!
Favourite thing about the space?
The people. We wanted a really easy going, fun yet respectful vibe at COMMUNE and we also want to ensure that we have a really good mix of disciplines to add to the creative collective hot pot - and that's exactly what we've got. Sometimes we sit back and just watch everyone interacting and take a very long deep sigh of gratitude... it's good to take a moment out of the day sometimes to realise what we've got is something pretty amazing.
We'll be building a calendar of events for 2013 that will be held in the space. They are all based around the Create or Die philosophy of taking time out of your busy life to do that thing which burns within you - to create and to connect. The events will have elements of creativity, meeting new(and old) people, learning new skills, sharing ideas, art, music - and most importantly good food & wine.
We'd also love to start other COMMUNE's in other states and have been talking with a few interstate collaborators about the prospect, but for right now we are happy with our little warehouse in Erskineville.