Building Cobalt

Cobalt was established in 1999 when four designer makers unable to find studio space came together to create their own studios… 

We worked with Newcastle City Council’s economic development to identify a building and then set about fund raising so that we could build the first phase of studios.

All of the building work undertaken at Cobalt has been done by ourselves to keep costs down and to create the best space that we can. After the first eight studios were completed we started to plan for the next seven studios but complications with the lease delayed this for a long time. 

Originally the venue was a wood workshop but when they moved out in 2015 we decided to turn it into a pop up venue as we were keen to increase the impact of the building, making it available to more people. The first version of the venue was created in just five days in our most DIY build of all. It involved palettes, scaffolding poles and lots of coloured lights. The sound system was the same trusty D&B that we use today.

The space ran as an occasional pop up until 2017 when we received noise complaints from a nearby developer. This complaint caused the council to close Cobalt overnight cancelling important revenue-building events. At that time we had no money at all so we ran a crowd funder, took out a bank loan and emerged on the other side with fully fitted, fully kitted venue space which we have been learning how to run ever since.

Whilst learning to run the space we have been to fundraising for our top-floor space and this is our next building project, the most exciting to date!

Future plans involve more studio space in the backyard, beyond that who knows?