Former Office Floor Turned Into A Cultural Hub By Social Enterprise



Ugly Duck, a London grown social enterprise, is set to launch an ambitious project in the Docklands this November; repurposing an 8000 square foot office floor at Republic at East India and transforming it into a vibrant cultural hub.

‘Off Quay’ follows the success of Ugly Duck’s work in Bermondsey, where they have brought a mixture of creative and commercial activity to a formerly seldom used tannery over the past 4 years. This building now hosts a regular programme of multidisciplinary arts events, regular classes, and has built a network of over 500 volunteer ‘time bankers’ who use the space in exchange for volunteering skills and time.

Off Quay will contain many of the successful artistic ventures of Tanner Street, with a photo studio, rehearsal space and event space built in to the venue. The new site will also feature a public gallery café, with a rotating exhibition and regular performance. The café will be operated by the team behind What the Dickens – an award nominated street food organisation with a focus on well sourced produce.

The site in question is part of Republic, a 600,000 square foot office campus which aims to draw the innovation, co-working, cultural and tech industries to this area of East London. The 1990s post-modern office campus is being refurbished to accommodate a mix of next-generation talent alongside top creative and cultural occupiers. Rents at Republic will be half the price of Shoreditch and a third of the price of the West End, drawing vibrant new talent ordinarily priced out of these areas.

Ugly Duck is all about finding overlooked and underappreciated spaces and enabling them to act for the benefit of communities.

Ugly Duck’s director Rosemary Slay says:

“Ugly Duck is all about finding overlooked and underappreciated spaces and enabling them to act for the benefit of communities. This mission is even more relevant in Tower Hamlets, where multinationals nest beside communities that experience high levels of deprivation. We will deliver a high quality programme of art which is affordable and accessible.”

Off Quay launches with a private view on 3rd November; their initial programme features installations from Antonin Fourneau, F9 Collective and Dolly Kershaw, performance poet Sophie Fenella, and an exhibition from Chrom Art, with further appearances to be confirmed.

From 4th November Off Quay will be open to the public from Monday – Friday each week.



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