Launch of the creative repository M28 in the Hamburg Speicherstadt historical warehouse district

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) rents out warehouse block M28, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft (Hamburg Creative Society) and to those involved in the cultural and creative industries.

The completion of renovation work in warehouse block M28, located in the historical Speicherstadt warehouse district, by Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG marks the advent of a new hub for Hamburg’s cultural and creative economy. As the main tenant, the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft is letting the ground floor and six further floors, coming to a total of approximately 4,200 square metres, to its own tenants. In the coming weeks, studios for music and sound production and for artists and other creatives will be set up in the warehouse block, along with other spaces. More than three floors are available for pursuing projects in the field of virtual reality technologies (VR). These spaces include workrooms and presentation rooms for several software and hardware production companies and a VR research and transfer centre, which is led by the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW).

Dr. Carsten Brosda, Minister for Culture and Media: “Innovative ideas and creative concepts need space to flourish – the creative repository M28 creates the ideal conditions for this. The diverse areas in which the subtenants work, from painting to photography and from film to virtual reality, draw from the breadth and depth of the art and creative scene in Hamburg. The transfer of M28 to the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft is another important building block, helping the artistic and creative industry to become an increasingly important part of the Speicherstadt historical warehouse district. For Hamburg, as a city of culture, this site for creative creation and collaboration is a huge asset.”

Dr. Roland Lappin, Executive Board member of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG: “Ideas require spaces in which they can be completely explored and developed. The Speicherstadt historical warehouse district has always been a place for innovation, so the project led by the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft suits warehouse M28, which was recently renovated by HHLA. Following the renovation of the warehouse, which respected the historical significance of the building, spaces have been created that will act as a welcoming home for inspiration and creativity. We wish our new tenants the greatest success and we are very much looking forward to working with them.”

Egbert Rühl, Managing Director of the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft: “We are delighted that through the implementation of this first phase in the revival of the Speicherstadt historical warehouse district as a centre for culture and the creative industry, we have found that the creative industry, its significance and its potential also belong in the city centre and in premium locations.”

As the owner of warehouse block M28, HHLA undertook thorough renovations to secure its future use. As part of this process, the building was energy-insulated. The mansard roof was covered in copper and the windows and characteristic hatches were restored or replaced as required. Modern bathrooms and kitchens were built. In addition, all of the technical facilities in the building were modernised. A new stairwell with lifts ensures barrier-free access. HHLA retained many details, such as the historical signs, old window grates and handrails. The creative repository M28 stands out due to its unique loft feel, which provides an attractive contrast between the traditional and the contemporary.

The Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft has signed an indefinite rental agreement to take over the spaces and to rent them out floor by floor to creative innovators. All tenants and users of the creative repository M28 will be determined once potential tenants have expressed their interest, and the final tenants will be selected by an expert jury.

One focus in filling the spaces at the creative repository M28 is on virtual reality technology. The Virtual RealityHead Quarter (VRHQ), which is spread across three floors, provides a space in which people work on modern VR applications and can openly exchange ideas with other enthusiasts. The founders of VRHQ, the four Hamburg start-ups Noys VR, Spice VR, Spherie and VR Nerds, have set up a collaborative work and exhibition space at the creative repository located at Am Sandtorkai, where they tap into new application areas for VR and make these accessible to the general public.

This focus has been supplemented by the tenancy of the Research and Transfer Centre Digital Reality, which is helmed by the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. Students and graduates from a multitude of disciplines (games, artificial intelligence, 3D sound production, user interface and user experience design, human-machine interaction, design, network technology, databases, illustration, 3D modelling, reality capture, animation and storytelling) can work in this space on new virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality applications to be used by science and industry.

The additional floors are occupied by, among others, studio collectives focusing on design, film and music production (VSM Studio) and new sustainable fashion labels (Jan ‘n June), and they also contain studios and workspaces for creative innovators from the areas of graphic design, illustration, painting, sculpture and photography, architecture, construction and film.

With the opening of the creative repository M28, the first part of the decision made in 2012 by the Hamburg Senate to devote 10,000 square metres in the Speicherstadt historical warehouse district to cultural and creative industries has come to fruition.