Moving into Makespace

Katie Reilly, Architectural Assistant at Transition by Design writes about the experience of moving a cooperative architecture and design studio into Makespace Oxford. 

For the last three and a half years Turl Street Kitchen has been home to the Transition by Design studio where we’ve shared a space with our friends from mental health charity Student Minds. Although sad to leave, we were excited to move into our new home at Makespace Oxford.

By way of introduction, Transition by Design is a collective of architects and designers working at the junction of architecture, strategic design and social change. We specialise in architecture, community-led housing, environmental design, visual communication and action research, such as our Homemaker Oxford project. Unusually for an architectural practice, we are also a cooperative and enjoy the collaborative nature that this way of working brings to the team and our projects. Bearing in mind our love for design and making, we couldn’t wait to develop our new space.


See more images on our instagram.

Makespace Oxford is making use of a building in its interim before development and we took the approach that whatever we did should have minimal intervention on the space with the possibility to take furniture with us to our next studio. Additionally, we aimed to support the circular economy the best we could through second-hand and upcycling of furniture and materials where possible. The colour scheme was inspired by our island, a useful storage come work space we brought with us, so we painted our floor bright yellow! We couldn’t pick up the old carpet tiles quick enough and paint it using Annie Sloane’s chalk paint. Our view over the canal is just stunning, so to make the best use of this we incorporated the view into our desk design, running it along the length of the windows. We feel super lucky to have such an inspiring view while we work. We have a cork board wall for project pin-ups, a cosy sofa space for a change of work environment and meetings and lots of plants. A bit of greenery can make a huge difference to a space and immediately the plants made our office feel welcoming and inhabited.

Makespace Oxford is filling up and many of the other residents have settled in now too. It’s great to see how each organisation has chosen to design their space; most have also painted their floor in bright colours making the walk down the corridor much more inspiring. While creating our spaces many residents would pop in for a chat for ideas or a discussion on the best way to do something, nurturing neighbourly relationships and a community feeling from the start. Having a space of our own within a community is one of the benefits of working at Makespace Oxford and we regularly make use of the shared spaces for lunch, meetings or a change of work environment. There are even plans in-house for skill swaps, gardening days and sports which we cannot wait to get involved in. We are also looking forward to the official launch party for the building on July 14th where we can share our exciting and affordable workspace with the wider community.