Making things requires space. @telier connects people (‘residents’) with studios (‘residencies’).
@telier is a place for designers (and others) to exchange workspaces. Focusing on people with similar working situations, we give them an outlet to travel, work in new places, and meet people from different backgrounds working in different parts of the world.
At the moment we simply facilitate this exchange. We let people make the connections on a personal level and don’t get involved in the details.
We at XXIX firmly believe that the best work requires reliable access to tools (workspace), inputs (location), and real collaboration (people).
However, since starting @telier we have felt undercurrents of a general shift in how people work (and live). People are looking for breaks in routine to: change perspective, find focus alone or with a team, or rebalance their work-life.
What role does location play in one’s practice?
The project was born in 2014. We* were two designers working together in New York when Jake made the decision to move to Portland. We thought it was the end of our collaboration but instead we came up with a different idea: we would work in our respective studios most of the year, and once a month meet in a different location to collaborate in person. We had very little extra travel money so sometimes we didn’t go very far (thanks for the great time, Philly), stayed home (Portland or New York), or did it on a budget (there’s probably no greater value than a Mexico City taco stand). The point was to turn constraints into opportunities.
We released a zine documenting the project and mostly put it behind us as Jake moved back to New York.
We became interested in the idea again. We started welcoming designers-in-residence to work from our studio in New York City. We had a small website where people could apply, and we welcomed wonderful people into our studio. We also did our own residencies, exchanging with designers in Berlin, Chicago, and Tokyo.
We decided to relaunch @telier as a platform that would help facilitate these exchanges.
We aren’t interested in ‘global nomad’-ism. This concept (1) is only available to a certain class of people, (2) does not encourage participation in local communities, and (3) does not empasize collaboration. The goal isn’t to sit at the beach behind a laptop*– we are interested in working in real creative studios alongside other people, and then leaving at the end of the day to see where they live.
We think that by working while traveling, and therefore living more like a local, we can counteract some of the negative effects of tourism in the Airbnb/Instagram age: overcrowded city centers, environmental impact to natural and historical sites, overwhelmed local services, homogenization of food and businesses, unaffordable housing for local residents, etc. We think it’s preferable to go somewhere with a purpose, meet the people that live there, and build empathy and new perspectives that could change your creative practice.
*although surf-friendly spots are welcome.