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A while ago a property developer asked me: “What is creative office space? People keep mentioning creative office space in London, and I’m not at all clear what it is. Please can you explain?”

My answer was that it is roughly how workspace used to look – stripped back, with exposed surfaces and services – before the property industry upgraded office space to keep professionals, bankers and similar “suited” users happy.

Stripped back “creative spaces” are very much in vogue – especially but not exclusively for companies in the creative sector – amongst others, media, marketing, fashion and technology.

Stripped back “creative spaces” are very much in vogue – especially but not exclusively for companies in the creative sector.

How to prepare creative office space

Any property developer targeting creative industries should follow the following guidelines when preparing an office building as a creative workspace in London:-

  1. Don’t put in a suspended ceiling with integral flush lighting. If there’s an exposed concrete ceiling, that’s fine.
  2. Don’t hide any air conditioning if it’s installed. Let’s see it! Yes, all of it!
  3. Don’t put in a raised floor (to accommodate wiring etc ). Some skirting trunking is fine for cabling.
  4. Don’t carpet it. Wood of some type is lovely.
  5. Don’t plaster the walls if you can help it. Bare brick is best.

Notably, these guidelines all specify what to leave out, rather than what to include!

Boiling it down: you’ll be able to offer creative office space to rent in London if you can provide what is popularly described as “space with light and volume”.

You get the idea…

Creative Office Space in London

You’ll be able to offer creative office space to rent in London if you can provide what is popularly described as “space with light and volume”.

Ready-made creative studio space in London

Interestingly, there are many locations quite close to Central London that were originally home to light industry e.g, warehouses for fruit and veg etc. Because these buildings had been built for more utilitarian purposes, they already had solid or wooden floors and bare brick walls. Certainly, back in the day, these building were highly sought after by creative industries – and they still are. Notably, the fact that some were “off location” was a secondary consideration. Perfect, ready-made creative studio space in London!

In contrast, nowadays to meet demand for creative desk space in London, developers are deliberately stripping back some fitted-out office buildings to resemble these old warehouses.

The property developer seemed happy with that explanation and noted that he could also save a fortune by NOT installing many costly items!

But has spending less by providing creative office space made the rent lower? No, not really.

Now that is creative!

Creative office space in London: what does it really mean?

About Michael Fraser

Michael Fraser

Michael - founding partner of Find a London Office - started in the London property market in 1970. Michael has developed extensive knowledge of the locations, the owners, the rental values, and - most importantly - has developed very solid contacts with the other agents working in the hub of the conventional office market, giving him a considerable advantage both sourcing office space, and negotiating the best possible terms for the tenant.

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