Designer Audrey Levy in her studio looking at one of her wallpaper designs, Kew, London

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Artists in their Home studios: a dive into the RIBA Photographic Collection

Inspiration for turning your home into a hub of creativity

RIBA manages one of the world’s largest collections of architectural photography, consisting of over 1.6 million items in total. Hours can be spent delving into the diverse range of photos – whether you are searching for images of Modernist buildings, bridges in London, or Icelandic architecture. In RIBA’s collections, we also find surprising inspiration for ways to reevaluate and reimagine the spaces in which we work.

 

Studio for Augustus John, Fryern Court, Fordingbridge, Hampshire. RIBA Collections

As we are confined to our homes to various extents dependent on geographical tier, we are adapting – with varying speeds – to working at home. From my own experience and what I’ve learned from colleagues and friends, the majority of our homes are not easily transformed into places of work. Whilst Lula’s experience has involved wrestling for rooms to do our zoom calls and imposing an obligatory ‘wine-time’ to avoid workdays stretching well into the evenings, we thought we’d imagine what it might be like if we had spaces built for living and working.

 

Studio for Augustus John, Fryern Court, Fordingbridge, Hampshire. RIBA Collections
The ‘writing room’ in the home of the architect Clough William-Ellis, photographed in 1931. RIBA Collections

Where we work, how we feel in our work space, and the work we ultimately produce are strongly interrelated. Artists home studios, which are designed to facilitate creativity and productivity, provide the perfect inspiration for how we can learn to create happy and fulfilling environments for working at home.

These are personal places, so intensely private for some that Tracey Emin won’t speak about hers. By contrast, the sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi has made a public work of art of his- a displayed a replica of his studio at the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh. 

They also feature regularly in artists’ works – think of Matisse painting on his bedroom walls, Miro’s sculptural Sert Studio, or what Gilbert and George’s house in Spitalfields has come to mean to them – influencing, shaping and energising the work that artists produce.

The following ingenious examples from the RIBA Collections are not unlike installations in their own right, places in which their art lives and grows.

Sculptor Wendy Taylor in her studio, who makes permanent and site-specific commissions. John Donat / RIBA Collections
Riba collections Dorich House
Dorich House, Kingston Vale, London: the modelling studio on the first floor. RIBA Collections

 

Prints of these images are available to view, buy and download via the RIBA online library.