Creative Space Management Wins Russian Contract
Creative Space Management is exporting home grown expertise to Russia after it was awarded a contract to assist Moscow’s Cultural Heritage Department to identify suitable uses for two of its oldest buildings, the 17th Century White Chambers and Red Chambers. Founded in 2005, Creative Space has been awarded industry accolades every year since it began for its specialist service that combines facilities management, consultancy and commercial lettings. The company won the Russian contract after managing director, Toby Hyam, was invited by the British Council to present a series of talks in the Capital. Groups of stakeholders from private and public sectors attended the events, keen to learn from Creative Space’s experience across the UK in achieving a strong return on investment for asset owners, alongside high occupancy and retention levels of rapid-growth companies, each contributing to area regeneration.
Creative Space formed in response to the market demands of emerging new businesses and fast-growing enterprise sectors and has itself grown in parallel with the rise and expansion of creative and digital technology companies, from a staff team of 8 to 30 in the last 3 years. This analogous growth has led to a level of expertise which goes beyond the traditional facilities management company model that is being sought after overseas.
Creative Space is now working with Moscow’s Heritage Department alongside the internationally renowned Strelka (Russian Institute for Media, Architecture and Design) to advise on future uses for the two historic buildings as well as animating the public realm and square between them. As part of the first stage of consultancy, Creative Space has hosted a number of workshops and contributed to round table discussions held in the Chambers buildings with representatives from both the Cultural Heritage Department and Strelka which identified a clear need from a number of young local creative companies and artists for a venue for pop-up arts events and festivals designed to stimulate and attract a community of creative companies in the area. As a result, Strelka has initiated a number of one-off artist events which have proved successful in terms of both interest from arts companies to exhibit as well as attracting visitors.
The state-owned White Chambers and Red Chambers are located in the Khamovniki district of Moscow occupying some of the most expensive real estate in the capital. Each has played a key role in the history of the city, having been built in the 17th Century and home to several noble Moscow families including Prince Golitsyn who served as Mayor and was a General of the Russian Fleet during the Napoleonic wars. In the early 1900s they were taken into private ownership by the Communist Government after the Revolution when they were refurbished and turned into apartment buildings and from the 1970’s were used sporadically as offices for State departments. Since 2011 The White Chambers has been hired out for conferences and become partly-occupied as head office for the Department of Cultural Heritage which has opened the doors to the public and attempted a number of art exhibitions as part of the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, whilst the Red Chambers remains unoccupied.
Creative Space which, as part of its remit in the UK has programmed a number of cultural animation programmes, will now help to establish a network of arts partnerships and scheduled events in Moscow which, it is hoped, will lead to a route forward for the public sector partners to eventually run the buildings as a social enterprise.
Comments Toby Hyam: “It’s fantastic to export our knowledge and experience to an international market and this is a really interesting project to work on given its historical significance. The UK is a world-leader in the regeneration of industrial areas and we have first-hand experience of working on schemes that are relevant to the White Chambers and Red Chambers; they offer great potential in an ideal location but have fallen by the wayside, as industries have come and gone, and need to be brought in the 21st Century.”
“Coming on board at this early stage allows us to apply our knowledge and experience to help create a sustainable work space, as part of the regeneration of the whole local area which is one of the world’s most expensive property markets.”
The project is the first contract as part of an ongoing partnership with Strelka which will see Creative Space delivering advice on a number of mixed use property schemes in Moscow over the coming months.