Jules Pipe, the Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, will officially open Bloqs, the UK’s first open access factory, in the heart of Enfield Council’s Meridian Water development in Edmonton, today (10 February).
Bloqs will provide new workspace with facilities for woodworking, metalworking, fashion & sewing, engineering, spray finishing, as well as services such as courses, classes and hireable meeting rooms, for thousands of small business in North London.
Users have access to £1.3 million-worth of light industrial equipment, usually beyond the reach of most new businesses, including: industrial mills, lathes, sanders, saws, CNC routers, laser cutting, 3D printers, spray booths and sewing machines.
Current members range from fashion designers, furniture makers and interior designers to playground designers, metal fabricators and eco-entrepreneurs. Once registered, members can pre-book spaces and facilities as they need them.
Bloqs’ larger facility will provide workspace at Meridian Water for small businesses to grow and new businesses to be created.
Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: “I’m delighted to be back in Enfield today to join the official opening of BloQs’ new, industry-leading workspace.
“BloQs is an innovative example of what can be achieved when businesses, boroughs and City Hall work together to add value to local communities and economies. The ability of our small businesses to rebuild and thrive will be a crucial element of London’s post-pandemic recovery and BloQs gives businesses the space, materials and resources to do just that.
“Meridian Water is one of London’s most exciting regeneration areas and I’m proud that City Hall is investing in enhanced infrastructure and thousands of new homes. I look forward to following the area’s progress closely in the years to come.”
The Leader of Enfield Council, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, said: “I am excited to open the new Bloqs’ facility in Edmonton today. The expansion of the Bloqs workshop will provide higher levels of employment in Enfield, directly supporting our creative industries and businesses.
“This is another great example of how Meridian Water is not only helping a local business grow but how it is becoming the key place in the borough for the creative sector to flourish. I am proud that our partnership with Bloqs has allowed the space to grow for the benefit of local people, and I look forward to seeing local businesses use this fantastic new facility for many years to come.”
Bloqs founder Al Parra, said: “From the very beginning Bloqs has been about providing professional makers and their businesses the right space and facilities to grow and make a living. We’ve done this by gathering a community that shares resources, and what really distinguishes us from other open-access workspaces is that we’re designed specifically to enable commercial activity.
With this new facility, we can give our community the space to make it work, we can create partnerships with education providers, manufacturers, suppliers, and our local communities. We’re deeply indebted and grateful to the many people and partners who have made this next step possible. We’re proud of how far we’ve come together and we can’t wait to show people around!”
An investment of £4 million by the Greater London Authority and Enfield Council has enabled this ground breaking concept to treble the scale of Bloqs’ operations and meet the growing demand among professional makers for affordable workspace in London.
Notes to editors
Sustainable Growth : As a model, it intensifies land use and machinery by grouping multiple businesses under one roof, so sustainability is part of its DNA. The new building allows Bloqs to further reduce its footprint with the addition of a biomass plant that converts waste woodchip and sawdust into heating and hot water while extensive SUDS (sustainable urban drainage system) contribute to the sustainability of the Lea Valley.
Equipped for the Future: A new partnership with leading equipment makers Weinig UK / HOLZ-HER UK means that members now have access to brand new state-of-the-art equipment including a Cube Plus automatic 4 head planer, a Streamer 1057 XL Edgebander and a Dynestic 7505 flatbed CNC router, in addition to the imminent arrival of an extraordinary 5-axis CNC router, scheduled to arrive before Christmas.
Kitchen Culture: Alway at the beating heart of the community, a revitalised and expanded Bloqs Kitchen Bar Deli will be run by Marianna Leivaditaki, former head chef at the renowned Moro and Morito restaurants. The Bloqs Kitchen welcomes the public and opens out onto an exterior social space furnished with seating, planters, and an outdoor stage that will play host to music events and performances.
Building the Future: Bloqs actively fosters relationships with education providers from SEN to FE to HE and is effectively an outsourced technical campus for the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL and West Lea School for children with special educational needs. 2022 promises collaborations with CONEL, Barnet & Southgate College, School of Engineering UCL, and Building Crafts College. To support its status as an education hub, the new buildings incorporate classrooms, and other infrastructure to support learners. Bloqs also partners with professional bodies, such as MAKE UK and FSB, to expand learning and business opportunities for our members.
Bloqs is a professional, open-access workspace and social enterprise based in Meridian Wateron the River Lea, providing flexible pay-as-you-go access to machinery, workspace, training and business support. It was co-founded in 2012 by – Vinny Nanray, Arnaud Nichols, Al Parra, Alex Motta, and Julien Thomasset building on the success of their live-work space enterprise at The Chilli Works. Facilities currently include engineering, CNC machining, 3D-Printing, metalworking, woodworking, spray finishing booths, and sewing and fashion studios as well as a café, shop and storage space. It’s free to sign up. Once registered, members can pre-book spaces and facilities as required. Bloqs is accessible via car, with onsite parking available. It is within walking distance of Meridian Water station, located less than a mile away.
5th Studio is a unique spatial design agency, working across the fields of architecture, urban design, infrastructure and landscape. Working with clients and commissioners, they create beauty and enduring value from complex situations. The practice applies spatial intelligence to a broad spectrum — from delivering buildings through to research and strategy. 5th Studio strives to be visionary, innovative and persuasive, committing to successful outcomes beyond the traditional role of a designer: leading the team, transforming risk into opportunity, raising profile and clearly articulating the objectives of a project. Current work spans from the sustainable retrofit of university buildings, the Urban Design Framework for Stratford Station to masterplanning London’s Royal Docks.
Meridian Water is a major £6bn, 25-year London regeneration programme led by Enfield Council, bringing 10,000 homes and 6,000 of jobs to Enfield, north London, next door to the beautiful Lee Valley Regional Park. Alongside attractive new homes, fantastic public spaces and community facilities, the development now has its own railway station, unlocking the area for commuters, with better connections south to Stratford and London Liverpool Street and north to Stansted and Cambridge. The Council is leading on the vision for Meridian Water and overseeing its delivery, which is based around three pillars:
Bloqs supports one of the central pillars of the whole Meridian Water project – Your Place to Make and Create, which aims to create an economy for makers and creators, delivering thousands of new jobs and opportunities for local people on a scale which will transform Enfield’s employment base.
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Enfield Council has awarded more than £317,000 in funding to 19 projects delivering to the communities in the Edmonton wards that border the Meridian Water development.
Leading regeneration business Vistry Partnerships has had its plans for a major new construction skills centre at Meridian Water approved by Enfield Council, paving the way for hundreds of skills and training opportunities for local people.