I get to see inside a lot of enviable workspaces these days but I must say, The Establishment Studios in Prahran really is at the top of my 'dream studio' list! This incredible multi-use space, set in an impressive Victorian heritage building, is part photographic studio, part events space and part prop store, and was founded in 2012 by well known Australian stylist Glen Proebstel and creative agent Rachael Hart of Hart&Co. The studio also employs fulltime studio manager Carly Spooner, and offers a range of services including event styling, prop hire, and studio hire for shoots, product launches and PR events. You might recall this space is also the Melbourne outpost for Megan Morton's The School, when it comes to town. In short, there is always something inspiring and creative going on here!
Unlike many 'blank canvas' photographic studios, The Establishment Studios is a dynamic space that changes all the time - the creative team here are forever re-painting their walls with various wallpapers and textures, creating new surfaces and investing in new props to ensure great variety for the events and shoots which take place here. The latest development for this dynamic studio is the appointment of a new Creative Director to really drive new creative concepts for the space - say hello to Tamara Maynes!
Tamara comes from a background in bespoke craft and prop-making, and has been one of Glen Proebstel's closest collaborators for a long time. The pair used to dream up the most inspired, beautiful creations for Inside Out Magazine, back when Glen was Style Director of the magazine. Previously based in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Tamara and her husband have recently made the big move down to Melbourne, so that Tamara could take on this exciting new role at The Establishment Studios.
In addition to her daily role directing the creative side of The Establishment Studios, Tamara has also set up her own studio here, focussing on styling, collaborating with Melbourne creatives, and handcrafting unique pieces for her online store The Six Week Boutique. She will also be hosting two classes when The School returns to Melbourne next month! Tamara's macrame class takes place on Saturday 1st Feb, and she's also hosting a brand new class in wire work, launching on Sunday 2nd Feb - get in quick people, the tickets won't last!
We asked Tamara a few questions about her new role, and what she has in store for The Establishment Studios this year! -
My new role as the Creative Director of The Establishment Studios feels like a wonderful organic drawing together of all my loves, skills and experience. Glen Proebstel and I have been close friends and collaborators dating back to his first days as a stylist for Inside Out Magazine, when I was producing bespoke homewares. My husband and I had toyed with the idea of relocating to Melbourne for many years, and when it became obvious Glen was spending the majority of his time working in the States, he and Rachael - Glen's business partner, offered me the role. Ironically, I had come to the quiet realisation a few months earlier that a Creative Directors role is what I wanted to pursue to culminate the many creative roles I had already enjoyed. As you can imagine, it was a welcome offer and not a particularly tough decision to make!
As Creative Director for the studio it is my job to design and facilitate new creative concepts for the space every quarter and work closely with Glen and Carly (our studio manager) to ensure each concept captures the essence of the studio while moving forward and remaining innovative. It's also part of my role to source new and distinctive props to add to the inventory.
The move was pretty huge in terms of preparation, but we made it! We always knew Melbourne was an incredible city and that we had to live here, so I actually feel like there was no converting necessary, we were already sold! It has felt like home from the day we arrived and although we get a little homesick for our dear friends in Sydney, The Establishment Studios team, along with so many Melbourne creatives offering coffee dates, have been wonderfully welcoming!
What with the constant supply of freshly papered and painted walls, exclusive surfaces by Mathew Collins of Art & Interiors and props coming in, the studio feels like it's operating in a never-ending state of excitement! I also intend to talk with local makers, artists and companies about developing props, installations and paint colours exclusively for the studio, so there will always be lots of exciting projects in the works.
Having just completed the physical realisation of the the first concept we are all feeling pretty proud of the updated space! Using incredible wallpapers sourced from Europe and Scotland, and a new paint palette, we have kept the divine moody essence Glen is famous for, while gently introducing some beautiful colour and knockout graphic elements. The new props honour both modern design and vintage treasures. From furniture through to lighting, objects and tableware, they have been sourced from both Australian and international designers, and local Melbourne vintage dealers.
The aim is to give our clients who shoot in the space regularly a constantly evolving and creative space that helps them bring their products and ideas to life. At the same time we are focusing on updating our prop and surface collection more regularly so nothing gets too over utilised.
In line with the quarterly studio updates, we are also having quarterly market sales! Joined by a selection of other stylists and creatives the sales will be a great opportunity to pick up ex-props and check out the studio in the flesh. To be notified of dates, pop your name on the mailing list on our website.