Behind the scenes: building StudioC

Just 35 minutes from Wellington CBD and nestled in native bush, our hand-built design studio is the perfect creative retreat.

With sweeping views across Whitemans Valley and the Blue Mountains, the 10sqm studio is surrounded by stunning landscapes, native trees, birds, wildlife… and not much else.

Our forest studio, which was a Finalist in the Offices and Workplace category in the 2020 Best Design Awards, takes remote working to a whole new level.

The idea

It’s well documented that nature boosts creativity, and we wanted to draw on this beautiful natural setting to create a place where both creativity and collaboration could thrive.
While most of our team work remotely, the studio gives us a central place to come together and connect - with each other, as well as clients - as well as the chance to enjoy creative solitude.

We made a conscious effort to move our work away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The goal was to create a space that would support truly intentional work and that people genuinely enjoy coming to (unlike many office spaces).

StudioC Office
StudioC team collaborating on fold up table

The design

Glen's engineering background + Celeste's design background + a dash of Kiwi DIY merged beautifully to create this small studio in the bush.

We did everything ourselves, from the earthworks to the construction and the fit-out.

Demonstrating how much can be done in a small space, the studio is just 10sqm. This came with some challenges (how could we run workshops with clients and have collective members hot desking?) - but it also pushed us to be innovative.

Recycled materials are used throughout, from the large windows to the upcycled French doors (from an old villa). These elements also offer natural light and air flow, not to mention stunning views.

Solar mapping techniques were used to plan the site for optimal sun. Morning sunshine efficiently heats the studio in winter, while surrounding beech, ponga, and kānuka trees offer just the right amount of shade in summer.

Designed to be one with nature, the exterior vertical timber framing blends seamlessly into the environment.

The result

This modern take on an office proves it’s possible to run a successful business in a remote location, with a remote team, with small environmental impacts and overheads.

The space breeds creativity and collaboration. It allows us to do our best work and give our clients a unique experience. It’s also a place where people can come together to achieve powerful, intentional results - our collective members love grabbing a hot desk and getting stuck in.

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that we need to be agile and flexible. Remote working will continue to increase in popularity, and we see this studio as a prototype for how this can be done successfully.

When it comes to client feedback, we often hear the words ‘fresh,’ ‘different’, ‘empowering’, ‘positive’ and ‘thought provoking’. We think that says it all.

And to top off all of that, our little studio was chosen as a finalist in the best awards alongside some of the best architecture studios! View the project here

More blog posts