A FREELANCE STUDIO WORKSPACE with Jules Villbrandt
The world of work has changed dramatically. Many of us work in very different ways from the generations that came before us. We freelance. We hot desk. We spend our days in workspaces that inspire creativity. We share those spaces with enterprises other than our own.
Jules Villbrandt, the visual creative behind German life and style magazine, Herz & Blut ("Heart and Blood" in English), is familiar with this way of working. Her online magazine focuses on design and interiors. It takes a look at topics like small space living and contemporary flower arranging. There are interviews with design industry stars and lowdowns on the latest interior brands.
“I founded the magazine in 2010 as a fun project,” says Jules, “Then it was all about street style, pretty locations and DIY projects. I’d always loved getting to peek through the curtains into other people’s homes and this led to the Herz & Blut studio tours and home stories. I’ll never get tired of seeing how other people live!”
Herz & Blut evolved from a hobby into a full time occupation. Jules was working with her sister Maria and a friend from university, putting each new edition of the magazine together. And they found they needed a dedicated studio workspace in which to do it.
When it came to choosing the right Herz & Blut premises, Jules tells us that light was a deciding factor – she uses only natural light for her photography so needed rooms that were flooded with it. The workspace also had to be adaptable as the team wanted their base to be a number of things – office, photography studio and event venue – all in one.
They found a space in the edgy Wedding neighbourhood of Berlin, a place where Jules both lives and works. “It’s an area that’s always called up and coming. But it is still a working-class multicultural district, which I love and find so totally inspiring.” Their first Maison Palmė workspace became a new hive of activity. “It was a big step for us to rent such a space as our own,” Jules tell us, “But really important to maximise our way of working.”
One day at Maison Palmė is never the same as the next. Office hours are flexible (one of the joys of a freelance occupation, says Jules). The team may spend their time answering emails, writing blog posts, photographing products or creating whole backdrops for a shoot. One thing they can always rely on, however, is a delicious meal. “Maria always cooks lunch for us,” says Jules, “So we can eat with my son when he’s home from school.”
Beyond shared lunches, the Herz & Blut team have always embraced a social and inclusive way of working. Their original Maison Palmė space was shared with a group of tattoo artists, which meant guest artists from across Europe regularly swinging by. Exclusive supper events, exhibitions, illustration workshops, macramé classes, pop up shops and lectures have all been hosted there too. “Our studio was and always will be a place where people can meet and network,” says Jules, “Just talking to other creative people can be so inspiring.”
The Herz & Blut team have recently moved into a new space – the Maison Palmė loft. It’s just around the corner from their original base, it’s exclusively theirs and it’s due to open officially some time over the next few weeks. Currently, they’re working to make the space into what they want it to be – light, airy, plant-filled and able to adapt to its numerous roles. It will be a place to work, a place to gather, a place to find inspiration and a place where the team’s creativity can continue to thrive.