There's Something Happening Here: Design Collectives

This last weekend I had the pleasure of attending an open house at Building212, "a unique creative space in Sacramento's Mansion Flats District. Building212 is home to a diverse group of craftspeople, whose work spans the spectrum from cabinetry to jewelry." It was wonderful to see and celebrate the work of  Phillip Garcia/14th Street Millworks, Maya Kini, Brian Schmitt, Sherry Olsen and Stephen Schubauer. For more pictures of the open house, visit Rik Keller Photography.

I had previously visited Building212 in April when friend/colleague Ian Merker made arrangements to show Erik Bricker, director of Visual Acoustics, the exciting design and craft work at the building. Before the screening of his film at the Crocker Art Museum, we were showing Erik around town to give him a sense of what is happening here in Sacramento. During our visit, I was struck with a profound admiration and recognition that, in the last couple of years, I've been noticing a positive trend in Sacramento: craftspeople, creatives, artists and workers are building communities together. Not only sharing physical space, but also sharing visions, dreams, passions and ideas. People are coming together, taking a leap of faith and putting their trust in others. They are taking action and building cooperative, collective, and collaborative spaces.

If you take a look around, it doesn't take long to find them. Here is a brief look at a few collectives in addition to Building212:

Urban Hive
A cooperative co-working space.
Photo by Daisy Sugiyama via Urban Hive's Facebook page
Per their website:
"The Urban Hive gives that independent a place to go--an un-office, if you will--to work, create, collaborate, refresh and (yes) play. Think of it as a great company culture, just without the company. We provide a professional work space for independent workers, creatives, and small companies. Coffee, wifi, and a community of Sacramento's coolest coworkers come standard. Choose to work café-style, desk-style, or office-style.
We think that one of the things that makes our community so great is the dramatic space that we call home. Located in an industrial modern space that includes a full art gallery, conference and meeting rooms, art and design studios, and even traditional offices. It is a place that inspires and encourages non-linear, creative, out-of-the-cubicle thinking.
More than the space, though, Creatives benefit from the community environment where spontaneous brainstorming stimulates idea exchange, fosters networking and even provides opportunities for project collaboration."
Capitol Creative Collective
A group of creatives that regularly meet and have a design directory.

Fun and camaraderie C3 style, via Facebook

Per C3's Facebook page:
"The CCC is a consortium of multi-disciplined designers, artists and architects founded by designer Jake Favour in Sacramento. The CCC started life as a small gathering of creative friends over a few pints and steadily grew into the Sacramento areas largest designer gathering...."
Beatnik Studios
A cooperative photography studio/gallery/event space.

Per their blog, "Beatnik Studios is a cooperative studio/gallery located in the heart of the Tower District at 2421 17th Street just off Broadway." On Facebook: "Sacramento's source to create, celebrate & collaborate with the community and elevate the amazing talents that surround us."

Verge Center for the Arts
A non-profit arts organization dedicated to the ".... promotion and support of contemporary art in the Sacramento region ... through the production of contemporary art exhibitions, artist residencies, educational programming, and by providing affordable studio space to Sacramento artists.
via Verge Center for the Arts' Facebook page
Per Jesse Powell, Verge's founder:
"In founding Verge, I had two goals: create a supportive incubator of artists where ideas could be shared and collaborations made, and create a gallery for contemporary art that would both educate Sacramento and be significant on an international stage...."
Bows Collective
A group of spirited people running an art gallery, retail shop, and a cafe with a beer and wine bar.

Bows Collective via Facebook
Per their website:

"We are a house of inspiration. We bring the creativity and quality and love and attention to everything involved in our work. Be it the food, the clothing, the art, the music, the beer and wine, the jewelry and furniture. Everything has been lovingly chosen and brought forth for your enjoyment. We are a collective of people who are very dedicated to the concept of being a small seller of all things special."

Scout Living
Scout Living via Facebook
A mid-century modern and antique collective with independent sellers of 20th century furniture and design. All of the sellers helped design the retail space and take turns working in the store. Enduring friendships have formed and they often consult with one another and help identify each other's finds.

Finally, I feel a need to mention that BlankBlank (now in Courtland) was one of the first collaborative design partnerships in Sacramento. At the time BlankBlank included designers Curtis Popp and Rob Zinn. I believe they helped provide inspiration to those that have followed.

The advantages of being a member of these communities like these are numerous. They provide a source of support and inspiration; a way to bounce ideas off of others and problem-solve; a feeling of being more connected and less isolated; an opportunity for synergy and collaboration. They remind me of a fundamental Gestalt principle that I learned first in psychology and later in design: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.