Free: the most distrusted word in the dictionary. Similarly, gratis or kostenlos are equally likely to be treated with scepticism by even the most naïve of Spaniards or Germans respectively. It doesn’t take a hardened cynic to know that “nothing’s free these days”. Or is it? Nick Couch, founder of Open Studio Club, thinks differently; “there’s so much space in offices that could be put to better use” he remarks, introducing his Free Desk Here concept – a mutually beneficial agreement between creative freelancers and top studios, who are offering up a desk space in their inspiring offices.
Leading agencies of The Partners, Poke and HORT’s ilk have offered up a free desk, and iconic designer Anthony Burrill has lent his unique style to a promotional screen print, so you know what sort of level this is aimed at. Recent graduates working on their own projects could get the chance to continue that work from within one of their country’s most respected studios, but of course the benefit is not just to the ‘deskee’; “it’s also good news for the agency. It’s an opportunity for them to invite someone new into the studio and judging by the current listings on the site the desks are often being offered to people outside the agency’s skill set. It’s an indication that many of the agencies are open to new types of people from different creative backgrounds” says Couch.
A real-world interpretation of LinkedIn, Free Desk Here is a fruitful reminder of the importance of physical social networks, and the creative industry’s need to cross-pollinate, think differently and introduce fresh opinions and cultures into their working environments. Maybe there is such a thing as free, after all.