Bricks & Mortar: Northcote HQ

By Diane Leyman Northcote HQ is a brand new co-working studio space located in Melbourne’s inner-north. Run by the team behind communication design collective Common Ground, the studio came about when designer Jessie Brooks-Dowsett (of Common Ground) wanted to develop a creative and supportive environment that promoted collaboration and innovation. She also wanted a co-working studio where freelancers could hire desk space as and when needed, allowing for productive work away from the distractions of home.

Jessie began the search for an affordable studio and came across an empty supermarket storage room behind LUPA (55 High Street, Northcote). The idea was to develop a creative atmosphere that felt part like a gallery environment but still with a casual feel. To that end the Common Ground team set about transforming the space, designing bespoke lighting, painting the brick walls white and sourcing a range of office furniture (including a cool cardboard table from Karton). The result is not only creative and comfortable, but also flexible, and can easily be transformed for events such as film screenings, exhibitions, pop ups and workshops.

On a side note, Jessie’s own creative background is an interesting story in itself. She started out studying illustration and fine art at the National Art School in NSW, but then discovered the darkroom and switched to photography. After moving to Melbourne and working as a commercial photographer for a few years, a chance meeting with a graphic designer led her to change creative paths again, and she went on to study communication design at RMIT and worked in design studios before embarking on a freelance career. Preferring to work with clients who are interested in making positive change, it was only natural that she begin collaborating, and after spending some time in other co-working spaces, Common Ground, and now Northcote HQ, felt like a natural progression.

As Jessie explains, creating a sense of community is of great importance to the Northcote HQ ethos, and regular social nights and morning teas allow the people who use the space to discuss what they’re working on. There are eight desk spaces that are leased to creatives from across many different fields, so if you’re interested in finding out more you can contact Jessie or drop by the studio.

p.s. Northcote HQ is hosting a pop-up for nail artist I Scream Nails, who will be occupying the studio each weekend in September. Click here for more info.

Diane Leyman is a freelance editor, proofreader and project manager with more than six years of experience working in non-fiction illustrated trade book publishing. She has a passion for all things design, and writes a design blog called Notes to a Further Excuse. She also likes taking photographs, crafting, drinking coffee and obsessing over mid-century homewares.