Morphing Spaces

Chop Shop (image via CBR Street Beat)

Chop Shop (image via CBR Street Beat)

Morphing spaces: the shapeshifters of the built environment. Some of the most interesting of these rise from the embers of industry: desolate workshops, abandoned factories, empty shops. They're the raw canvas where someone's already made the first mark, their beautifully scarred interiors beckoning for reinvention. The antithesis of high-gloss and polished and the connotations of status and wealth that come with that kind of sheen, they enjoy the comfort of sitting firmly in the bosom of anti-plush territory.

I'm increasingly interested in how the re-purposing of such spaces can incorporate creative/cultural activities which push communities back into conversations and interactions, away from the comfort of the screens we're so used to.

Two spaces that really caught my interest previously were Kartel and The Chop Shop. Both offer spaces for artists to work or exhibit and bridge this with social connection, bringing others into the space to share an experience. It's the cross between community and culture that has an interesting counterbalance to the encroachment on our localities of replication and monotony. The opportunity for conversations to occur - a local cultural dialogue - may be one of the things we all need to try and support to sustain a shared collective richness in our individual diversity in a world full of branding and competition.

So, how can communities independently build a dynamic environment for creatives to enter, thrive, move on and for the voids to be filled when some of them outgrow their nest? How is this achieved sustainably, both financially and environmentally, when many creatives may not have the expertise to deal with the money men or the leaky roof? Is the only answer to be under a corporate umbrella or is there another way?

Kartel (image via Very Nearly Almost)

Kartel (image via Very Nearly Almost)