Creative HQ: 754 Hunter Street

While the media loves to celebrate the lone genius, the one who rises above the rest of us with their brilliant talent, the reality is that behind almost every creative success story is a team of passionate people.

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Way back in 1924 American psychologist Floyd Allport proved that a group of people working individually at the same table performed better on a whole range of tasks, even though they weren’t co-operating or competing. He called it ‘social facilitation’, the way that being surrounded by other people engaged in similar work can boost our motivation. His research is often cited to explain why so many urban professionals head to their local café to get a project completed, finding this collective atmosphere (even with strangers) more enriching and productive than working alone.

I love creative collaborations; the way that the energy and engagement of individuals in a group seems to enable those out-of-left-field flashes of genius to erupt in the most positive ways. Even just being in an art/design/music/literary work space magnifies the productivity of individuals out of all proportion.

The West End is soon to have its own creative hub, made up of multiple small businesses all located at 754 Hunter Street, a former Dunlop tyre and rubber goods warehouse. If the address sounds familiar, it’s probably because you know the warehouse’s public face, a shopfront window which is the best in the West End. It is home to those funksters Tiny Studios, whose delightful cubby hole office houses their architecture, building design, model making and drafting business. Tiny Studios won’t be around for long in its current guise, but the boys – Owen, Sam and James – will still be on site, with the business soon to be re-born with a new name and a new space in the building.

No. 754 stretches from behind this shop front all the way back to Beresford Lane, it’s a long two-story building cutting through an entire block. The rear lane entrance was the old tyre fitting and service bay, but it’s soon going to be servicing wheels of a different kind. Slated to move in soon is Metro Cycles who will be running a bicycle business orientated to city bike riders, with Copenhagen style bikes and workshops.

Already in residence is JK Studios Tuition, a music studio which teaches, provides recording facilities and is the home of band ‘October Rage’.

The rest of the building is in a state of transition and restructure: Masonite floors are being taken up and bags of cement, tins of paint, ladders and construction equipment are filling the ground floor. In the process of refurbishment the site’s solid industrial features, rusty hoists and steel beams have been revealed and these will be incorporated into the final fit-out.

Upstairs much of the work has already been done; this will be home to six tenants who will each get a studio of 12 square metres. Spaces are still available and the creative tenants who will get to call this home can design their work space as they wish. There is only one rule: no walls. Surprises are everywhere in this building and on this floor there is a flash of unexpected prettiness, some of the factory’s broken window panes must have been patched at some stage with lavender-coloured glass. With these unintended squares of stained glass, high ceilings, white walls and industrial inspired cool loos the space resembles an arty photo shoot already.

Creative collaborations are the West End’s future. Why? Because things always go better together.

Are you interested in having a creative space in the 754 Hunter Street building? Contact Oliver Coakes phone: 0425 285 795, email: olivercoakes@gmail.com

October Rage: www.octoberrage.com, JK Studios Tuition phone: 0438 092 078, email: jkstudios@live.com.au. http://www.facebook.com/JKStudiosNewcastle

 

Kimberly O’Sullivan

Have you chosen the West End as your home or as the perfect place to run your business? Do you have a West End tale which deserves a wider audience? What inspires and infuriates you about the West End? If you have a story to tell I would love to talk to you! Here’s how to find me: kimberly@netspace.net.au; 0413 250 155.

 

 

 

 

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