Last year I was looking for an alternative space to work. I am curator of the International social innovation charity Social Care Ideas Factory (SCIF). I was bored with my agile working arrangements. They just weren’t working.
I was on the hunt for a community environment that could kick start my creative thinking and further develop my social innovation mind-set. I looked West to Finnieston in Glasgow. Once just a port of call for dockworkers in search of less salubrious fun, it is now home to the glistening SSE Hydro arena, constructed for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
citizenCharlie says: it's a labyrinth of hidden cobbled ways hosting around 100 studios, garrets and galleries.
Following eons of post-industrial decline, Finnieston is rediscovering itself. Low rents along a stretch of Argyle Street now called "The Strip" have attracted a vibrant mix of independent bars, shops, cafes and restaurants. From the newest Tantrum doughnut bakery to vintage treasures at The Real Deal. By stepping off the busy main of Argyle Street, I explored the old cobbled Hidden Lane, a warren of old buildings in Argyle Court that were once merchant’s quarters and old stables.
The Hidden Lane is as its name suggests, is a labyrinth of hidden cobbled ways hosting around 100 studios, garrets and galleries, each brimming over with independent thinkers, artists, designers, musicians and more, each developing, crafting and creating their own colourful inspirations and ideas. The lanes feature driftwood artists, yoga gurus, badge makers, furniture restorers to not for profit collectives, guitar, banjo and mandolin tutors, to analogue recording studios and the award-winning Hidden Lane tearoom serving up scones and tea on its best vintage crockery.
With vibrant painted brickwork, the lofts and stable buildings advertise the joy of colour, shouting a mood of change, transforming the spirit of people. Along with the stained glass windows and eclectic, washed out signage, it feels like a cross between the Parisian Left bank and a colourful Brazilian Favela.
Image by citizenCharlie
In a city like Glasgow, infamous for its rainfall, these sunshiny colours are fabulous for feeding the soul any day of the week. I instantly fell in love with the sight and sounds of the Lane instantly. SCIF found its new work space in a mews studio complete with garden in The Hidden Lane, off the buzzing Finnieston Strip. Perfect for not only our company, but also for our mascot, Kate the Border Collie. Supporting ‘take your dog to work day’ most days of the week, we feel our productivity and wellbeing is now zooming.
With the world famous Kelvingrove park on our doorstep there is no excuse not to take a natural break and go for a lunchtime run to recharge the creative process. In such a growing community, I am thrilled to have found a physical and figurative space that can support a strong sense of community, and help to stretch my mind and further develop SCIF’s International ideas currency. You can work here, drink here, live here, have a laugh here.
Visitors to the SCIF studio often remark how appropriate this unique space and area is for us. They recognise SCIF would be out of place in a corporate serviced office. The freedom and fun of the Hidden Lane hopefully will support our creative wings to flourish for years to come by co-creating innovative brave ideas.
Social Care Ideas Factory
Hidden Lane Unit 3
1103 Argyle Street
Header image courtesy of Bobbin & Fleck