Ty and Sven are relaxed, serene, and thoroughly at ease in their environment. Behind the reclaimed timbers of the entrance lies a wonderland of rooms and breakouts, offices and open spaces with the walls decked with wireframe UX/CX mockups, mandalas, flow charts, band posters, data entity diagrams and more.
“We had the idea years ago”, begins Ty, “for like, a totally holistic, totally collaborative working space.”
Sven gently interjects, with a hand on Ty’s arm, “We agreed on a ‘being space’ as more inclusive, conceptually. Some people find the label of ‘working’ restrictive and judgemental if they’re currently existing in a free form ideation phase.”
Sven is softly spoken, but authoritative, and a liberal user of air quotes. His white blonde hair is pulled back into a bun, held in place by a thick pencil, topped with a plastic Astro Boy. As we chat, he sits cross legged, almost enveloped by a bamboo-fibre organic bean bag. Ty, his business partner (or more accurately ‘concept’ partner, as the collaborative space is run not so much a ‘business’ – they tell me – as a ‘concept’)
The rotating population of the Concept Space includes would-be musicians, future scriptwriters, and actors-in-waiting. As a result, the Space is known as the home of a killer latte, with the highest concentration of baristas per square metre anywhere this side of Melbourne.
“We are, like, totally funded by gifts and stuff – we’re in the pay-what-you-can circular economy, you know? We tried to raise equity, bring in investors, get a loan from the banks, but it’s a big vision… long term conceptual stuff that the capitalists just didn’t dig it, right? It undermined their paradigm. Screwed with the ‘Order’ they feed, and feed off.”
“Yeah, right. The bankers with their money and their control and stuff… they wouldn’t lend money to… what was their phrase?” Ty looks to Sven.
“A couple of hippies taking the piss?”
“Yeah”, nods Ty, “That’s what it was.”
“It is what it is, you know?”