STUDIO URBAN CATALYST
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Agency Spielfeld Boxion Project
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1 development of use concepts of vacant spaces through culture-oriented programmes and events in Berlin
2 provision of studio and exhibition spaces to be used by artists and cultural enterprises
3 help and direct advice in the establishment of these enterprises and artist studios
4 upgrading and improvement of deprived areas in East Berlin
Carmen Reiz and Thomas Wagner in collaboration with the Quartiersmanagment (District Management) Boxhagener Platz.
Spielfeld is a privately run business with an executive, one partner (full time) and two to three freelance employees working in areas such as graphic design; Spielfeld works in close collaboration with a wide network of people and institutions linked to Berlin culture
established in 2000
Spielfeld was founded as a bridge between culture activists, city authorities, property owners and developers. The founders of Spielfeld take advantage of personal experience as artists and managers of clubs and events (Maria am Ostbahnhof, Casino, etc.). In collaboration with the Quartiersmanagment Boxhagener Platz the project Boxion was set up which is concerned with the reuse of vacant retail spaces by attracting start up businesses.
THE BOXION PROJECT
The Boxion project has been set up according to the following steps:
1. Star-ups and start-up interests, which are oriented towards culture and the creative industries are selected in an open tender process. All applicants have to present a concept and a viable business plan.
2. Together with the selected start-ups vacant retail areas in the area are selected and Spielfeld approaches the owners of the properties. If the owner agrees, Spielfeld acts as official tenant for the period of one year with the option of extending the contract. Through subsidised sub-contract arrangements the spaces are then leased to the start-ups as workshops, studios and gallery spaces.
3. Spielfeld co-ordinates an image campaign for all spaces under the label Boxion which includes festive events and guided tours
4. After the period of one year the sub-tenants have the option to take on the main contract at market rates
The year-long project Boxion was successfully implemented in 2001 and 2002. Its financing was ensured by annual grants by the Quartiersmanagement (district management). Boxion was well received by residents and property owners after the first year of running, which caused many owners to approach Spielfeld voluntarily in the second year. In order to reduce the initial investment costs for the subtenants, Boxion begun to involve only renovated spaces in the second year. Boxion 2002 includes 10 spaces used by fashion designers, a photographers gallery, a music agency, a graphic design studio, photographic studios, media as well as lighting design.
In contrast to similar models that intend to activate urban districts with high proportion of vacant space, Boxion is primarily devoted to the step-by-step development of a secure longer-term local base and perspective for the specific target group of cultural activists. However, the establishment of new businesses of the cultural sector has positive effects on the city district as a whole.
Boxion is funded by the programme Social City (Soziale Stadt) with an annual grant of 75,000 EUR.
Kulturkonsultation, Carmen Reiz
Tasdorferstr. 31 D-10365 Berlin