The Forge on London’s Isle of Dogs is the location for Craft Central, a leading charity that supports and celebrates crafts and craftsmanship, and a hub for designer makers. Housed in a restored shipbuilders’ forge, the Thames waterfront venue offers an exciting juxtaposition between its historic envelope and the unmistakable creative vibe that now pervades it.
The Isle of Dogs is a traditional ship building area, and The Forge is the only surviving mid 19th century iron shipbuilding forge in London outside of the Royal Dockyards. Built in 1860 – and now a Grade II listed structure – its first task was to manufacture the frame for HMS Northumberland. Around 1890, the forge was turned into a workshop for a firm of structural engineers and bridge builders and was used to manufacture iron and steel girders until about 1951.
The magnificent industrial building had been left unused for many years before it was converted into studios, shared workshops and event space, opening in 2017. Based on the desire to build on the magnificence of the building and the constraints imposed by its listed status, an imaginative approach was provided by Emrys Architects.
They designed a virtually freestanding frame housing 2 rows of double height studio spaces, while the triple height at the front of the building has been kept as an impressive exhibition and events hall, with bleacher seating used as an additional design statement and extra usable space.
The Forge is located on Westferry Street in the heart of a prosperous residential area, with good connections to Canary Wharf, the City and Central London, and there is safe, gated off-street parking and a loading bay.
The creative studios conversion features 1,000 ft (93 sqm) of triple height event space with huge southwest facing feature windows as well as skylights, providing great natural light, with additional lighting rigs for spotlighting. Exposed brickwork, ironwork and listed industrial fittings including 2 overhead cranes, give a nod to the building’s shipbuilding heritage. There’s an extra 600 ft (55 sqm) of bleacher seating that is ideal for large item displays, as well as 2D display systems and moveable large display units.
The spectacular Exhibition Hall can be used for a variety of events including meetings, exhibitions and conferences, trainings and seminars, talks and workshops and much more. Contact Function Fixers on 020 7186 8686 to find out more about this brand new, exciting venue and to arrange a site visit.