Seljak Brand and Five Mile Radius are a great example of committed collaborative businesses trending on all over the world, as the sustainability consciousness grows. The pair have created a new working space in Highgate Hill, Brisbane - for themselves and also to bring together other Brisbane creatives for collaboration and cross-pollination.
Seljak Brand make blankets from recycled merino wool offcuts and Five Mile Radius are a collective of designers, makers and thinkers dedicated to a building process that promotes the use of locally-sourced materials and as much as possible, building with what you've got. Both businesses are already committed to circular economy principles, so their clear value set, beyond their friendship; made the idea of a shared space for anyone like them a no-brainer.
The idea really is an evolution from shared space for start ups or anyone who can pay the rent. Start up businesses, especially tech-ups, have a lot in common, but beyond catching a whale investor and possibly their introversion and IQs over 150, sustainability values aren't really something they share.
With so much growth in eco businesses and the shared commitment, innovation and opportunity for cross pollination, we are going to see a lot of growth in this shared values space.
Apart from who is both allowed or would even want to step in the front door to share the space, their ideology is rooted in everything the space offers, including the initial build. In the case of Seljak Brand and Five Mile Radius, it has meant that the two collaborated to develop a fitout brief that was true to circular economy principles (designing for disassembly and reuse, using waste or second hand materials) as well as using locally made, low impact materials and products.
The desks and shelving were made using plywood and cypress pine. The ply was sourced from Austral Plywoods, which is based 8km from the shop, and it originates from 100% plantation-grown hoop pine forests in South East Queensland. The cypress was used for the structure of the desks and shelves. This beautiful Australian timber was ethically sourced from a private forest in Northern NSW and machined in Northgate, Brisbane. The joinery was all screw-fixed, without the use of glue, making disassembly a viability in the future.
The office chairs were sourced from Absoe – a second hand office furniture distributor 6km from the space and the space was generously donated a secondhand fridge and printer. Mr Kitly’s locally-made recycled plastic planters were filled with house plants found on Marketplace and propagated by a local green thumb. Five Mile Radius created a beautiful boardroom table using their signature waste terrazzo and recycled hardwood, charred and finished with a natural oil.
The workspace has attracted creatives like photographers, Anwyn Howarth and Aimee Catt, Platypus Publications, Plain Store and Studio Gentle; and is now fully subscribed. The office is also nestled among a broader community of eco and sustainable businesses (like Handmade Naturals, All My Friends Grocer, Lucky Duck), which is fast becoming a destination strip for businesses, consumers and citizens. In the coming months there will be an array of events and collaborations in the space.
While all desks are filled for the next 6 months, please get in touch if you want to be part of an event or collab.
Images: Anwyn Howarth