posted by Cian O'Donovan

10:10 office: The DIY workplace

Co-build your own dream office

Series: six months in


It is January 1st 2010 and 10:10's home is a small pokey two-room in North London. It is cold, it is small and it is grim. Boy is it grim. Think Charles Dickens with a just a dash of The Good Life for comedy self-sufficiency moments.

Flash forward six months and 10:10 is now quartered in what what I can only describe as the best looking office in the city. So how did that happen?

Our new office on first inspection. Note the drinks fridge didn't last long.

Events conspired and by mid-January we were in a brand new office (next-door!) which had lots of room, lovely new landlords, a proper kitchen(ette) and shedloads of what estate agents like to call "potential". Our director Eugenie unfortunately wasn't quite so enamoured; "You can't be serious, this is nothing more than a shell of a thing" was her reaction following the grand tour. But we had a plan. It consisted of one part creative genius, Oliver Marlow of TILT, one part world's greatest facilities manager, our own Ben Evans, and a co-build recipe that involved the entire 10:10 staff and a month of DIY weekends.

Oliver is renowned as something of a superhero in creative office circles (seriously they – have conventions and things), having previously been involved in the series of Hub co-work spaces. He was the perfect man to deliver a 10:10 a workspace that embodies the themes of the campaign. A place we can bring people to and so create a reputation for itself: a buzz, an excitement, where the objects within it that tell stories about their own creation. Now if you think that sounds a little bit Sunday supplement I don't disagree, but that was the 10:10 pitch to Oliver and he delivered in a big way.

Daniel, eh, borrows some wood from a local skip. It's now leading a happy life as an accounts shelf.

The co-build process was an absolute revelation to me. Instead of seeing flat-pack furniture being delivered to the office on Friday afternoon and having them magically assembled by Monday morning, we did everything ourselves: Cycling around Camden borrowing wood from skips, late-night carpet laying with The Darling Bones minutes before they were due on stage around the corner, and more blackboard painting than is good for any collection of climate change campaigners. The best part of the process is that every item designed by Oliver had a story, from the coal ash concrete blocks to the sustainable Finnish wood that went into the downstairs table.

All hands on deck, but don't forget to hold on to that ladder

The result is an office that is totally alive, always a talking point for visitors and has in its short life already been featured on ITV News! We’re finishing off a short video documentary on the whole process at the moment, but in the meantime do check out our Flickr archive. I can’t recommend the process enough for any type of office, be it a small or medium business or a campaign organization like 10:10. If you’d like to find out more please do give me a shout.

Daniel, Oliver, Ben and myself at the end of the last long night which over many long weekends.
The downstairs office in full:
The whole office in the light of day. I'd actually pay to work here.
And everyone working at full tilt in a beautiful environment:
How we roll at 10:10.