A design space made to beat creative block

In one corner of creative consultancy Bleed’s huge, open-plan studio is founding partner Svein Haakon Lia’s office. But so much space doesn’t mean lots of stuff, as we found out...

The creatives at Bleed's Oslo office are definitely not short of space. The consultancy occupies an old factory on the banks of the Akerselva river that runs through the city; a massive, 500-square-metre space with seven-metre-high ceilings. "Altogether we are an office of 13 people, so we have a lot of space to kick around in," smiles Svein Haakon Lia, founding partner and creative director.

The surrounding area is an ideal mix of urban and rural, according to Lia. Located in Oslo's creative, bohemian Grünerløkka district, the studio is surrounded by independent cafés, shops and parks. "The location is a very big part of Bleed's studio culture," he says. "Close to water, green space and with all a city can offer, it makes it easy to go out for inspiration."

Inside the warehouse, Lia's office sits alongside meeting rooms on a mezzanine floor. Décor is decidedly on the minimalist side; meticulously organised, with zero clutter and bright, white walls. What Lia does have out on his desk is a carefully curated selection of objects designed to provide a triple-pronged attack on the senses when creative block strikes.

Bleed’s founding partner and creative director Svein Haakon Lia’s minimalist office, in the corner of the studio’s 500-squaremetre factory space

For concentration and focus, there are Bang & Olufsen H6 headphones (1), used alongside portable audio interface Apogee Duet for better sound. The factory's large windows (2) provide a view out on to the tree-lined river. These are, Lia says, ideal for "meditation over a creative challenge." Finally, there are a range of perfume samples (3) on the desk, which is part of an ongoing project at Bleed. "Smell for inspiration," Lia smiles.

And if all that doesn't do the trick, there's an element of superstition – a metal rabbit figurine (4), picked up in Sweden, which the designer rubs for luck, and a skull rubber (5) to "erase evil."

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 220.

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