The outside courtyard area at Ocean Studios needed a bit of love…  A group of Green Thinkers participants were set the challenge of creating a design brief for it, which they decided to make into a reality – introducing the Ocean Studios project! 

Green Thinkers were challenged to create a design brief that considered the following elements in its redevelopment plans: 

  • For it to feel like a community space that members want to use regularly  
  • To ensure the space remained flexible as a wide range of activities take place there including markets and making workshops as well as it acting as outside seating for the cafe 
  • To bring more greenery into the space making it feel more like a garden and less like a ‘concreate jungle’. 

Additionally, exploring other points such as how the artists facilities could be incorporated it, such as print making and involving the artists in residence. They also considered how they could make it more environmentally friendly; by using reclaimed or reusing materials. 

To combat all of challenges, the Green Thinkers came up with a wide range of ideas: for example, using drought resistant plants that can be self-managed and a vertical edible garden using pallets and tin cans. Taking it one step further, they considered water recycling from vertical irrigation systems. Other ideas included an edible herb garden to be used by the local community and café alike. 

The re-vitalisation of the space came in full force with young people collaborating with Inner City Seeds to create bug hotels out of old pallets filled with bamboo, yogurt pots and other recycled materials; acting as a green corridor for animals and insects to hibernate safely. Recycled tins from the café, have now been attached and painted in bright colours which are filled with edible herbs. 

Artists from Ocean Studios have engaged throughout the development process, showing their studio and work, creating bunting to be used and giving their general opinion on what had been created. The improvements to the area have been well received and sparked conversations with visitors


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
National Lottery Heritage Fund
Nature Plymouth