The Story So Far

In July 2000, 3 arches were rented as a workshop for the owner and it has now become a large Multi- function Studio and his own Design Lab.

Park Mews then was partly derelict with a collapsing back wall and roof. Truck tracks ran through six inch deep mud in the mews, as it had never been swept and the annual two ton of leaf fall had accumulated over the years.

Dumped rubbish, leaking arches and walls, blocked and broken toilets, old power supplies and open front gates, that allowed access for people to use the mews as a toilet or for drug taking, kept it similar to the other arch streets locally.

Foresight, clever negotiation, endless drive and a lateral creative insight has brought us here today. The Studio has been privately financed by the owner, initially working 30 hour shifts as a chef to pay the rent.

All construction and refurbishment has been by his hands, until very recently, and is only now able to afford the occasional helper. 17 years of his time and labour has brought the building to where it is now, essentially ploughing all the profits back into it.

The building is a living sculpture and it is now near completion. Immense time and creativity has been used to convert tons of waste to useable building materials. Carried by hand and shoulder, wheeled on trollies and using occasionally pooled vehicles, waste from skips, dumps and demolition make up a minimum of 95% of the buildings refurbishment.

OngeĢan Environmental Design Lab manages a profound sustainable and ethical ethos that holds the studio building and members club together. It is the brainchild of the studio owner and this principle created the studio.

Running an art studio from scratch without prior knowledge of such ventures has been a challenging experience. This has been due to many factors that include, constant formatting of partition walls to suit budgets and project restraints, adding additional windows, insulated floors and design elements to create comfortable spaces to work in. Also the challenge of dealing with numerous creative individuals who's personality and purpose have not always suited the set up on site, but over the years more than 350 different artists and creatives have passed through this building and the majority have found themselves at home. Some of our long term members have been here over 12 years and others are into their 5th and 6th.

Mistakes have been made and lessons learnt in dealing with individuals our landlords and neighbours but overall it is an experience not to be under valued. We pride ourselves by following a constant learning process and hope that future studio members will experience the benefits of this.

In our eighteenth year we finally have a website and our new open days will allow more to see what happens behind the gates of Park Mews.