Creative Space takes its knowledge of regeneration to Moscow

FACILITIES management and consultancy company Creative Space is expanding into new markets after winning a major contract in Russia.

The Leeds-based company will be working with Strelka, the Russian Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, to put forward recommendations for the future use of 30 buildings on the edge of Moscow city centre.

It will be taking skills it learned in Yorkshire and the North of England, including its work at the Tower Works and Round Foundry Media Centre in Leeds and Electric Works in Sheffield, over to Moscow over the coming months.

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Creative Space’s managing director Toby Hyam said: “Moscow is one of the big global cities and like any major city, it is regenerating itself in various ways.”

Like Leeds, Moscow has a lot of industrial buildings which are no longer required for that purpose, so they need to be adapted for modern use. Creative Space offers advice on regenerating such buildings and particularly providing workspace for emerging creative, digital and advanced manufacturing industries.

Creative Space’s links to Moscow began when Mr Hyam agreed to do some pro bono work with the British Council. He went to Moscow twice to give workshops and lectures for young Russian graduates and business people about enterprise, collaboration and setting up small businesses without too many overheads.

“You build relationships in any contract where people get to know you and begin to understand your skills and how you can work with them,” said Mr Hyam.

From those trips came a contract to identify uses for two of the city’s most historic buildings: the 17th century state-owned White Chambers and Red Chambers. Creative Space is now working with Moscow’s heritage department and Strelka to look at the future of the buildings, as well as breathing life into the public space and square between them.

There have already been several events for local creative companies and artists to exhibit their work, attracting visitors to the area.

“They’ve got an interest in increasing the quality of design, urban realm, architecture – they work with a lot of international designers and artists,” said Mr Hyam.

“They run a summer programme of events which is really well attended. A lot of architectural people are involved in that.”

Founded in 2006, Creative Space has grown from a turnover of less than £100,000 in its first year to around £2.5m now, as well as taking a further £2m for its clients. As well as working on the redevelopment of buildings, the company also manages them on behalf of clients.

Mr Hyam said the deal with Russia would be worth a five-figure sum and would be of the same standard as any of its work in the UK.

Although the Russian contract will not directly result in any recruitment, there are already plans to employ five new staff in Leeds, adding to the 30-strong workforce which has increased from just eight in the last three years.