Who you gonna call when you’re stuck in a rut with your business branding? Studio Able, that’s who. This creative award-winning design duo are based at our Regent Place offices, where they help businesses to reimagine how they want to be perceived from the outside world- with breathtaking results. They also have a pretty incredible office space with unique, original features to boot.
We had a chat with Studio Able’s Howard Taylor from this month’s Tenant Spotlight to find out what he loves most about being an UWS tenant and what exciting things are in store for the business this year and beyond.
Hi Howard, Can you tell us a little bit about your business and what you do?
Myself and Lisa, my business partner and wife, set up the business together in 2009, firstly as a partnership then we rebranded and became a ltd company in 2013. The two of us work in house and call upon the help of contractors and freelancers on a project basis. We call ourselves a ‘Creative Agency’ because we have quite a wide service offer.
I’m a graphic designer coming from a signage and print background, before then moving into digital and then advertising. I had always wanted to work for myself and never lasted more than 2 years being employed by someone else! Lisa is an interior designer who used to work for a interiors firm whose main clientele was footballers, hotels and show apartments for Urban Splash. She’s worked on really high end, big budget projects and created some truly incredible spaces. So you could say we’re a very creative couple.
Where was Studio Able based before coming to Regent Place?
We set up the business when the recession was in full swing, so we worked from the dining room at home for the first couple of years. It was around this time that we got introduced to Gerry, the owner of UWS, via a client who wanted some guidance on refurbishing 22 Regent Place. I jokingly mentioned to him that I wanted a specific room in the building. Turns out a year later, we were in that very room, like a proper business. It all felt very grown up!
We had both worked in Digbeth prior to setting up on our own, so Jewellery Quarter was new territory to us. But we instantly loved it. It’s like a village in the city. I often say that if Digbeth is the Shoreditch of Birmingham, then the Jewellery Quarter is the Clerkenwell.
Up until around 4 years ago we’d been working predominantly on brand and web design and restaurant and bar fit outs. We became re-acquainted with a client in the retail sector, which is where we do most of our work now.
In 2017 we landed our most ambitious project- The Winter Forest, in Broadgate London. We installed over 400 real Christmas trees, 3 tipis housing a pop up cinema and bar + grill. The project was 8 months in the planning and took 3 weeks to install. We very recently won 2 awards for this project at the REVO Opal awards. We won the category that this project was entered into, but most importantly we won the coveted ‘Aurora’ award which is essentially ‘Best in show’. So we are currently riding high on this big achievement.
We have mall kiosk builds in process, a brand project for a new restaurant opening in Birmingham in 2018 and lots of exciting stuff we are quoting on.
Do you have any plans for the future you’d like to share?
We are currently working on summer installations in London and across the country. We’ve also had our first meeting about Christmas 2018, as well as working on a couple of mall kiosks and some rebrand work. We like to grow organically and are very lucky that 100% of our client base is referral. So are looking to expand our client base in the retail sector this year.
What made you choose an office with UrbanWorkSpace?
In 2017 we moved office, but not very far. We just moved to a larger office in the same building. UWS have been our only landlord, so I don’t have much experience with office renting really. But UWS (particularly Gerry) have been really supportive and have let us basically do what we wanted to the space to allow us to make it our own and put our personality into it.
What is your favourite thing about being an UrbanWorkSpace tenant?
The location, the character of the buildings and the flexibility. We’ve been able to make the space work for our specific requirements.
Where’s your favourite lunchtime spot near your office?
Usually its Saint Kitchen, Will, the chef, is a friend of ours and is exceptionally talented. But for the past few Fridays, we have been to Salcooks (formally Peel and Stone) who is killing it with artisan sandwiches and pastel de natas.
What is there to do in your area of Birmingham?
We live 4 streets away from the office, so we socialise and shop in the area. We are lucky enough to be a 10 min walk to town, a 5 min drive to the gym and to Edgbaston reservoir, which is a great place to run.
Have you done anything creative with your office space?
In our previous office, we drew with sharpies on a bookcase and on the wall and we refurbished the fire place. In our new space we have quite a large kitchen and have installed some hanging Edison bulbs. The space is full of character anyway, as it was a former toolmakers workshop. So we didn’t really need to do much to it. We did refurb the original tool that are on the wall and got them polished up.
I’d like to create a formal meeting room by glazing a section of the office, but typically stuff for ourselves is last on the ‘to do’ list.
Could you see your business in a studio space like this? Learn more about our Regent Place offices.