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Block Party

A three-storey Edwardian industrial building has been transformed into a thriving hub for Hackney’s creative businesses to work, network and play. If it’s good enough for Alexa Chung…

Block Party

It’s good to talk, as Bob Hoskins once advised in an effort to get us to pick up the phone a bit more. In an increasingly digitised world, that advice holds truer still today – and an even better substitute for shooting the breeze down the blower is, surely, actual face-to-face human contact.

That’s where the newly unveiled De Beauvoir Block in Hackney has got things so right. The sensitive refurbishment and renaissance of the three-storey Edwardian industrial building in De Beauvoir Road has created studio and office space conducive for some 33 creative businesses both to work and, yes, to talk.

Marking its inauguration with a commemorative plaque, MP for Hackney and South and Shoreditch Meg Hillier cut the proverbial ribbon to unveil the new creative space, which features much of the building’s original features, from Edwardian pipework and brickwork to beautiful old timber floors.

Owned and managed by the Benyon Estate, the collective objective was clear in the creation of the building: to allow creative people not only to network for business purposes, but to really exchange ideas. In the interest of promoting conversation, the architecturally sympathetic building has been cleverly configured to include a hot desking area, an on-site café and shared courtyard, all providing a creative hub for like-minded professionals to work and socialise. We’re not talking water cooler gossip either, but inspiring debate that may even lead to productive symbiotic collaborations. A coffee and an initial hello can take you a powerfully long way.

The De Beauvoir Block’s new resident creatives turned out in force to celebrate the arrival of their new work and play environment, along with encouraging local businesspeople and councillors alike. Amongst the revellers were De Beauvoir’s very own talent, including The Grid creative agency; Alexa Chung’s eponymous fashion label; as well as super design creatives Carl Nas Associates.

Meg Hillier enthused, “I believe that we have more creative people in Hackney than in any other local authority area so it’s great to see our industrial heritage repurposed for modern use to provide workspace; whether it’s for a single person renting desk space or a business growing into a bigger office.”


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