It's as if Andy Warhol has risen from the grave and moved his famous Factory to Canberra. The exposed brick walls of the new Kingston co-operative space, The Milkbar studios, which opened last night, are splashed with neon paint, the boardroom looks like Pinterest in real life, and buckets of flowers are scattered throughout the new-age office designed by owner Renee Douros.
The idea for the shared co-working space dedicated to budding creative entrepreneurs and small business operators was born when 25-year-old Ms Douros decided she needed to correct her work-life balance.
''I was having difficulty being creative because home was getting a bit stagnant as I was cooking, cleaning, vacuuming and then working and it was getting me down,'' the interior designer and stylist said. ''I wanted to be surrounded by the other individuals that were creative and wanted to collaborate in a space where I could come every day and be happy.''
Rather than hitting the Hume and hightailing it out of town, Ms Douros conceived the idea of Canberra's own open-plan creative hub while chatting with her father over dinner.
''It may scare people as a lot of people don't understand what we are doing here,'' she said of the space, a former menswear store converted to a hipster paradise in 11 days.
Word of mouth and Facebook helped The Milkbar bring in at least eight members before opening.
''The bonds that I've made just with the people who are members so far, and we haven't even properly moved in yet, are amazing.''
Each tenant is provided with a desk, WiFi and kitchen amenities including coffee and chocolate and access to a boardroom. While the small group of photographers, floral designers and builders settle in, Ms Douros is looking forward to hosting creative workshops for the wider community.
Karmin Cooper, Milkbar member and co-owner of boutique creative agency New Best Friend, said the space was a welcome addition to the local arts and creative communities. ''It's a great space where we can network and work without having the stress of overhead expenses,'' she said.
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