abgc architecture
architecture & design

studio banana

What is it?

We’ve been based in a collaborative studio since 2007, and since then there’s been a few interesting developments in this area with the likes of Block T opening in Smithfield and the Fumbally Exchange in the Blackpitts. Farther afield we’ve seen the likes of the Hub (Vienna & elsewhere) and this place; Studio Banana.

If south studios had a Spanish cousin this place would be it.

Originally set up 4 years ago (within a month of south studios opening), Studio Banana is large subterranean studio comprising of over a dozen freelance creatives and startups.

The basement studio was founded by Spanish starchitects Studio KG, who also designed the smart fitout. They’re joined by a medley of creatives from the fields of photography, audiovisuals, architecture, graphic design, product design, animation, fashion & advertising. Spaces rented by the desk create an environment where a variety of independent creatives can share facilities and develop their practice both autonomously and through collaborative process.

What’s the set up like?

The set up is simple; a long banquet style table is the centerpiece of the office space, wrapped with 5 shared office spaces each of which can open up to become part of the central space. The entrance area doubles as the meeting space with the wide steps down from the street becoming, with the aid of a few cushions, a raked auditorium for monthly movie/presentation evenings where the studio is open to the public.

Getting light into the basement is dealt with fantastically in what could have been a tungsten dungeon – clerestory glazing filters sunlight into the meeting areas, the front door illuminates the entrance hall and roof lighting from the rear of the plan filters down through heavy louvres and polycarbonate screens. Everything is painted brilliant white – sometimes too austere, but it works fine here of the soft quality of the light entering the building.

What they do that others don’t?

These guys are not hiding their lights under a bushel! In addition to the open nights, Banana pimps out the talent for Cursos Banana (classes), and runs Banana TV, a mixture of in-house production and video selections curated by the various creatives.

They are also developing the Studio as a brand in it’s own right, hiring out its constituent elements under the umbrella company as a combined service; a real media agency across all mediums. I had the pleasure of meeting Key Portilla-Kawamura who explained their global vision (Yep, they’ve a global vision too!) of establishing connections with studios world-wide in places as far afield as Auckland and the Americas.

Special thanks to the most gracious host Victoria Ovin, product & packaging designer, multi handed collaborator and studio manager who gave over some of her morning to guide me around and make introductions.

!Hasta luego!


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