A+ Cities

Creative Spaces

4 Mins read

By Rashmi Shankar and Rashida Jasdanwalla

Marisol Santana 21, Textile Design at ENSAAMA, Paris. My studio in an abandoned flat.

Girl working at her desk

Marisol Santana working [Rashmi Shankar]

Your favourite thing about the space?
“Located just above my room, my studio is a place to escape the routine. It has no electricity and a shared sink and is the highest point of the building so offers special views of Parisian rooftops. I feel the quiet and simplicity of the place allow me to express myself freely—I feel like I can do everything. There’s also an abandoned fridge which I’ve tried to hide behind the fabric.”

The city you live in as inspiration?
“Paris has so much to feed my curiosity of cultures—you just have to take the metro to discover a new community. And the Paris I love is so different from the one tourists see; it’s where every individual can express their identity and every street corner is a work of art.”

Favourite piece of work created here?
“I’ve created numerous artworks in my studio but what I love doing most are big paintings, thanks to a large window that brings in natural light on the wall; I love to paint bodies and experiment with canvas shapes.”

Maria Luísa Capela Rodrigues Carvalho 21, Painting at Faculty of Fine Arts, Lisbon. A shared space in my building.

Girl stood up in front of her art work

Maria Luísa in her studio [Rashmi Shankar]

Your favourite thing about the space?
“My requirements of my workspace are that I am able to stay for as long as I want without worrying about returning home, prepare my meals and basically even live there. This space is in the building I live, and I share it with other people who also paint—on days when I cannot work, I go there just to read or talk to others. I only wish it got more light and less noise from the street!”

The city you live in as inspiration?
“Living in Lisbon means openings every week in museums and galleries—put this together with a diverse group of people at university and you get a constant search of practices and reproduction of knowledge.”

Favourite piece of work created here?
“There isn’t one piece of work, but I think my workspace is very productive. I particularly love using the walls to propose and develop ways of presentation and curation, and the large table to finish and clean the work.”

Sophia Luu 23, Art and Science at Central Saint Martins, London. A space at home.

bedroom work space woth curtains closed

Sophia Luu’s workspace [Rashmi Shankar]

Your favourite thing about the space?
“It’s in my house, and after a long day of studying, it’s a chance for me to detach from it all. It’s also near my family, so that means Netflix and a massive food supply—lots of long breaks!”

The city you live in as inspiration?
“All of my work is inspired by social inequalities and health, and I find that the area I live in (South Norwood/Croydon) quite an interesting study for this. Parts of it are being gentrified, and other parts are super under-funded and struggling; this is a constant motivation. I only wish it weren’t an hour and a half away from central London!”

Favourite piece of work created here?
“I created a campaign for D&AD about period positivity, called “Everybody bleeds”.

Marta Pinto Balsemão Penaguião 23, Visual Communication at Weissensee Art Academy, Berlin. Anywhere.

marta at a glacier

Marta at Perito Moreno in Argentina [Rashmi Shankar]

Your favourite thing about the space?
“My workspace is wherever I can set up my computer, notebook, a black pen, and an agenda. I love that I don’t have a fixed space and that my work is influenced by the very different places I make them in. However, something I’d love is to get a caravan with a big desk—this way I could have a fixed space but still keep moving.”

The city you live in as inspiration?
“Berlin has changed my perspective on work and influenced the colours, textures, shapes and materials I use. The more you see, the more you create, and Berlin has so much to see—I especially love the big, open gardens!”

Favourite piece of work created here?
“My favourite so far is a little children’s book I made at home, university and cafés while living in Lisbon. I redesigned Sophia de Mello Bryener Anderson’s Portuguese book Menina do Mar—meaning “little girl from the sea”—which is the story of a girl that lives in the sea and a boy that lives near the beach. My intention was to capture the rhythm of the sea—as the tide goes up and down in the narrative, so do the images and text.”

Mathilda Della Torre 22, Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins, London. A desk in my bedroom at home.

mathildas desk and big window

Mathilda workspace [Rashmi Shankar]

Your favourite thing about the space?
“I can really focus because I feel like I’m in my own bubble and not distracted by what’s going on around me. My favourite thing about it is the large window in front of the desk, which lets a lot of light in. It would be a total dream if I could add in a screen-printing set up, more desks, a kitchen to make lunch, a balcony, people to collaborate with… and a dog.”

The city you live in as inspiration?
“London is endlessly inspiring as there’s always something new going on—next on my list is a visit to the Migration Museum. This also adds to my desk: since I live in such a busy city, I love having plants around me to feel closer to nature. Around my desk are things I’ve collected from everywhere; books that inspire me, postcards from friends, and objects from travels.”

Favourite piece of work created here?
“Pretty much all of my work gets created all across London, but the last project I worked on was a 100-page publication about migration. The book is made up of 629 lines shaping England’s South Coast representing the 629 migrants recorded to have tried crossing the English Channel in the past four months—I did it all by hand sitting at this desk.”

Featured image courtesy of Rashmi Shankar

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