Open Atelier

In collaboration with Eliz Ayaydin and Heath Wagoner


Open Atelier is a service platform - an output of merging the best practices of startup accelerators with those from design research and environmental/ social impact. The process involved generating business concepts, validating assumptions through hands on research, building and testing concept prototypes, and testing them against social, environmental, and economic criteria.

The Concept:

The project brief was to design a growth startup built upon the platform of an existing company - in this case, Airbnb (a shared economy disruptor). Using the Lean Startup model to develop a business idea, the outcome of the 15-week process is Open Atelier, an online community marketplace that connects artists and designers looking to temporarily share their studio space with people looking to learn new skills. Through customer discovery and development, we identified Open Atelier users as Masters and Apprentices: Masters list resources and skill sharing opportunities and Apprentices book spaces they are interested in using.

The Process:

Through research, conversations, surveys, system mapping, financial projections, materiality assessments, and market tests, we identified Open Atelier's larger mission - to help artist and designers realize how valuable their skills are and actualize creative passions into careers.

Mock-up screens of what the Master and Apprentice side of the platform might look like.

Social Value Proposition

The biggest pain point is that artists and designers with studio space in NYC need a supplemental income to sustain their career and lifestyle. The expensive NYC lifestyle is pushing artists out and "the artist drain is one of the city's biggest problems" because you need a creative talent pool from which all industries can draw (Crains New York).

Findings from a research study led us to the insight that pairing people with skills and space to others is the most valuable combination rather than independent of one another.