Inside the Workspaces of Five Creative Luminaries.

Inside the Workspaces of Five Creative Luminaries.

Legendary British artist Bridget Riley’s studio makes its home in an altogether unassuming multi-story terrace house in West London.

The sun-drenched in-home studios aren’t the only place in the house art happens; the works tend to wander around, following the light or, when finished and wrapped, ending up stacked in stairways.

Bridget Riley's Studio, via

Light is key. It is crucial to Riley’s process, and as such, the whole house is designed and re-designed to best capture the sometimes sparse London sunshine. The floors, walls, and stairs are all painted white to reflect the light from the tall windows — a practically effective approach that’s equally as atmospheric. 

Riley’s other studio lives in East London, and it’s in this space that Riley tends to work alone. A converted church hall tucked down the end of a residential street, the East End studio is sprawling and open, double-height on the upper floor, and just as flooded with light as her space across town.

Michael Felix's Studio, via Photo: Brandon Wickenkamp.

Los Angeles based furniture designer Michael Felix is a third generation upholstery designer. He got his beginnings working as an assistant in the furniture factory his grandfather founded, and still makes and produces products at his father’s shop in Chino.

Until recently, Felix kept a studio in a shared space in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. The airy rooms, all painted white, have a charming and completely appropriate craftsman-like quality to them; all white walls and floors separated by what looks to be salvaged windows, too-small doors and fixings that don’t quite match, but at the same time don’t seem like they should. 

Design, particularly that of furniture, is all about functional beauty. Utilitarian artfulness. Felix has mastered this skill, creating furniture that is modern but classic looking, comfortable but stylish (two things that aren’t always mutually exclusive), cared about and considered. And his studio space seems to be a well-suited carry-over of his overall ethos.

Emma Cline's Brooklyn Writing Shed, via Photo: Rich Gilligan.

Emma Cline, the author of The Girls, comes to her evocative and brilliantly styled written worlds in a garden shed in Brooklyn.

A stone's throw from her apartment, the 9-by-12-foot outbuilding is nestled in a yard behind what used to be a friends house,  and it’s in this little space where most of Cline’s much-lauded debut novel was written.

Cline lived in the shed for two years and wrote most of the book there over the course of one summer. It was what was needed to capture the strangeness of Evie’s story — that sense of isolation, or maybe one of a sanctuary; disconnected from the busyness of the world, and the distraction of the Internet.

The shed is decorated with little personal touches — shelves laden with books, trinkets, family photos, and artwork (some made by friends) — and the downstairs houses a tiny desk, small closet, cosy rug, heater, and radio, while the upper level is a loft, with space just enough for dozing.

My Place - Devendra Banhart, Still. Film: Barbara Anastacio for NOWNESS.

Less a studio than an actual lived-in house, artist and singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart’s creative space manifests more or less exactly as you might expect it to.

Banhart describes his place like this: “Japanese library, Venezuelan country house, and Eighties Italian palace…” An odd gathering of inspirations, to be sure, but somehow, it all fits. 

The house is bright and light and brimming with creations and keepsakes that surely bring as much joy as they do inspiration. It looks comfortable, lived-in, and, given all of the wood detailing, slightly Scandinavian. 

What it is as well, is colourful — both in actuality and in spirit. It’s un-fussy but mindfully put together, overflowing with bits and pieces, strewn with artwork — including quite literally all over the bathroom — humorous but sentimental, and embodying completely of the curious mind who thrives in it.

Helen Levi's Studio, via Photo: Chloe Horseman.

Ceramicist Helen Levi’s hand-thrown wares are so sought-after that the mere mention of her name conjures not her face so much as the image of one — or many — of her beautifully unique stoneware creations. 

Being quite so booming in business as she is, Levi’s studio, as well as housing all of the usual potter’s tools, is obviously also requiring of some much-needed space — space to store, to dry, for firing, and, of course, to work.

Levi’s Red Hook space is distinctly industrial, though open-plan, light-filled, and with soaring ceilings. The walls are lined with shelves — shelves that are laden with countless clay and ceramic objects — and the studio’s beating heart, the kilns, live by the windows.

Just about the only thing the studio is missing, however, is a supply of running water. Levi has hooked one up that funnels in recycled water for cleanup and the like — but instead of being an inconvenience, the takeaway might instead be that no space is perfect, and rather, you make of it to best fit you.