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Look Inside The Commune

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Peek inside North Loop’s newest co-working space, designed specifically for artists.

By Courtney Runn, Photos by Molly Culver, Portrait courtesy of Son of Rand

The North Loop neighborhood welcomed a new commune this April, but at this shared space, the artists leave at the end of the day.

After returning to Austin from a stint in Shanghai for her husband’s job, artist and graphic designer Lauren Cunningham was ready to work again but couldn’t find the right studio space. Motivated by necessity and inspired by the desire for community, she created her dream studio and named it The Commune, an ambiguous name hopefully edgy enough to pique interest while pointing back to its communal purpose.

After finding the perfect home for her budding venture in a long-dormant building, Cunningham hired Hunt Architecture to renovate the space and her friend Claire Zinnecker to design it. The result is 3,600 square feet of natural light, minimalistic furniture and Zinnecker’s signature palette of blushes and earthy tones, with a scattering of plants.

Intentionally designed for artists, the space includes art storage, easels, mess sinks with oil traps, printers for larger-scale projects and a library of design resources, along with the traditional co-working amenities like coffee, snacks and a conference room. Currently, the workshop offers private permanent studios (for which there’s already a waitlist), dedicated desks and community co-working availability on a daily or monthly basis.

“Creatives need to be surrounded by other creatives,” Zinnecker says. “Not only does it allow for incredible collaborations to happen, but also helps us to continue being inspired by others’ creativity and drive.”

Cunningham also designed the co-working space with events in mind, offering it for event rental and hosting a variety of art workshops and classes.

“I feel like [co-working spaces] are taking over the world,” Cunningham says. “But, of course, most of them tend to be more tech-geared, more male-dominated, and so it’s kind of refreshing to have something that’s more geared for creatives, and we have a lot of women members.”

“Since I’ve lived [in the North Loop neighbor-hood] for quite a few years, I didn’t want to just stick something new onto such a special street. We wanted to honor the existing building and its history. We made each design detail count and add to the build-ing instead of [taking] away from it, using natural, warm materials and finishes.”

CLAIRE ZINNECKER

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