The Compound Interest

The compound Interest began as a tongue-in-cheek name for our previous space in Fitzroy as we were in an 80sqm building, however were running about 5-6 different studios from upstairs and Lamington Drive downstairs. When we had to move spaces, we realised our professional connections had grown, and that we could fill a much larger space with our friends and colleagues who were working across a diverse range of applied arts. The idea that these disparate interests and disciplines which were all rooted in the idea of commercial art, or art done for financial reasons, informed the name and the driving force behind the culture of the space.

“The space is co-operatively run by the owners of the respective businesses who are majority ‘stakeholders’ in the compound as a whole.” Jeremy Wortsman, The Jacky Winter Group

Photos: Scottie Cameron Photography


How was the space first identified and who was contacted to secure it?

I think we first found it online. We originally went through a commercial real estate agent, and then went on to negotiate directly with the owner. It was about an 8-month long process.

What was required to secure the space?

Firstly we needed a permit for change of use. There was also asbestos that had to be removed, and a large amount of rubbish and machinery needed to be relocated so the building could be cleared.

What were the costs?

Each space and business made its own significant investment in their individual space, as well as the building as a whole, so it’s not quite possible to get an accurate price. It was definitely tens of thousands of dollars, and continually a work in progress in many ways.

What were the resources available to you?

Not much! That said, the City of Yarra, especially in the Arts division were incredibly supportive and helpful the entire way through.

Who helped you to fit it out?

Martyn Hook of SomethingTogether generously donated much of his time as a friend and a tenant to secure builders and make proper plans for much of the fit out. Different businesses used different builders and designers, or simply did it themselves.

What were/are the obstacles?

Trying to establish a commercial and public cultural space in the edge of a residential and industrial area was the hardest part in terms of gaining the support and acceptance of the residents in the area. Furthermore, getting a permit which would be flexible enough for us to run our business and yet respect the residential nature of a rapidly changing suburb.

What were/are the risks?

Not getting our permit in time! Also, managing such a large space with friends and close colleagues can be difficult from a business perspective.