studio space

Spagat Studio Denmark

We’re always on the lookout for inspiring studio spaces to help us improve our ‘micro-studio’ and just discovered Spagat Design Studio in Denmark. They recently moved into a new space which looks lovely and bright. We’ve got a brick building too and dig what they’ve done. We’re excited that a Typometry print will soon be part of the decor.

Studio Sweet Studio

I suppose I’m late to the party on this but I just discovered Studio Sweet Studio. It’s a fun little site put together by Meg Lewis in Minneapolis and Tuesday Bassen from Minneapolis seemly to fuel our micro-studio day dreams and my secret desire to be cool (Cindy is already cool so I don’t think she has that secret desire). The site features the studios of designers and interviews with all sorts of creative types. They seem to favor women and illustrators – but hey… we like both of those things. Always cool to see the work spaces that nurture other designers and small studios and learn more about their processes.

Home Office Style

Katherine Yaphe has collected some lovely examples of stylish home offices on her Oliver Yaphe blog. She confesses most of her work is done on a laptop so she’s not seeking a true micro studio capable of accommodating screen printing equipment, flat files, paste-up table and the like. None the less it’s a nice collection of inspirational work spaces sure to give you some ideas for your own creative lair.

Workplace vs. Workspace

Today two magazines found themselves in ironic juxtaposition on my desk. Together they reflect the seismic shift happening in the creative professions and a question we’ve been pondering for years. What kind of environment best inspires creative endeavor?

The Sept/Oct issue of Architecture MN (You can pick up a copy at the AIA offices in International Market Square.) pursues one answer to this question by featuring several beautiful, local workplaces of the super-size variety. Two advertising agencies; Carmichael Lynch and Modern Climate, and two architecture firms; Cuningham Group and Ellerbe Becket show what can be done by a professional with a substantial budget to house an army of creative talent.

The cover of the November issue of Dwell on the other hand boldly proclaims a glorification of the live/work option. Of course buying a home like those featured in California, Ontario and Japan might cost as much as renovating a Minneapolis agency but both strategies can be achieved on the relative cheep so the exercise is really to explore the differences in the two directions.

Simple day-to-day choices compound to take us in unexpected directions over the long-term. Will media conglomerates get bigger and bigger until they are the heartless but efficient equivalent of industrial agriculture? Will a vast population of nomadic, independent contractors coalesce into the much predicted 1099 culture? I suspect the human tendency to push at the extremes combined with a Darwinian expectation that no niche goes unfilled will cause both options to come true. The only question is where do you do your best work – fancy agency, humble home office or someplace in the middle? We’re volunteering the term “micro-studio” for that middle ground and hope to share the creation of ours in future posts.


Carmichael Lynch by MS&R (navigate through “portfolio” to “offices”)
Modern Climate by 20 Below Studio (project not featured and the site is challenging)
Cuningham Group by Cuningham Group (project not featured but their work for Hunt Adkins is)
Ellerbe Becket by Ellerbe Becket.

The Desk

We’re still on a quest to understand (and create) the perfect micro-studio for BrainstormOverload and today discovered this nicely done mini-documentary (perfect for a micro-studio quest right). Imaginary Forces has collaborated with Intelligent Life Productions to create a series entitled “Lines”. This one, The Desk helps shed a little light on the importance of desks as a key fixture in our creative workspace. Secondarily it reassures us that we are not simply tilting at windmills which is rather a relief. As a teaser one provocative quote from the film is: “If a messy desk is a sign of a messy mind then what is an empty desk a sign of?”

The Office Stylist

The Office Stylist, as you might expect, is a site devoted to office style. In addition to posts about furniture and a section devoted to office makeovers there is an archive of office profiles. They’re not on quite the same mission as we are, therefore many of the offices are of the large and spendy variety. These are certainly inspiring but the feature on Raw Design Studio caught our eye as being pretty achievable in a residential setting. It looks fun and functional without being lavish. Check out Raw Design Studio’s website to see the work they’ve produced from their space.

Micro Studios

As you know we’ve been searching for “inspiring home offices” which has proven to be something of a contradiction in terms – yielding less than inspiring results. The kind of space we have in mind might better be called a “micro studio”. This isn’t a great search phrase either because no one else seems to use it. But, it conjures a better picture of an inspiring and functional creative space of the sort you can fit into your home. On this new tack we’ve discovered two places worth sharing.

While they are small design offices and not in a residence they suggest a format that could be achieved at home. First is this room at Mattson Creative in Irvine, California. It must work pretty well because Ty Mattson produces some gorgeous work in it including posters for the TV series Lost. See more of his studio space and work at his site and blog. The other office is Raw Design Studio which is featured in the next post.

Simple Desks

On our hunt for home studio inspirations BrainstormOverload affiliate Jeff Zerger recently shared this discovery: Simple Desk A collection of minimal work spaces. Granted we are really hoping to go beyond the idea that a desk alone constitutes a fully functional and inspirational home studio but there are some interesting ideas in this collection that can be used to help inform the larger space. The photo featured here for instance is pretty dang swell.

Ikea Giving You the Business

It turns out Ikea has a business website where you can share your space this includes a home office showcase. One of the nicest things about it is that people from all over the world are participating (though that makes reading the captions difficult if you are language impaired like most Americans including myself). The image quality isn’t great (not sure why they built it with Flash) but it’s nice that they are obviously authentic and include non-ikea furniture. I like the long custom desk in this photo from a studio in Switzerland. The site also has other features like an interactive ergonomics widget in the “Tools and Guides” section.

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