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old oak canal side

The Collective opens its doors as part of Open House 2018

Calling all architecture enthusiasts, history buffs, and curious-cats alike, Open House London is upon us. As the world’s largest architecture festival, the event sees some of the most famous, obscure and intimate spaces in London open their doors for all to explore. We’re more excited than ever this year, as The Collective Old Oak joins the Open House line up for 2018!

But first, let me tell you a bit about what Open House is all about. Taking place in London next weekend (22-23rd September), it involves 800+ free walks, talks and tours taking place across the city and offers a golden opportunity to step inside buildings you never thought you could. Think Bloomberg European Headquarters, 10 Downing Street, New Scotland Yard, the BT Tower and HM Treasury. For those who miss their school days, walk the halls of educational institutions such as London School of Economics, The Optometrists College, The Royal Academy of Arts and King’s College London-Strand Campus to name but a few. And if you’re of a more domestic architectural persuasion, you can explore a vast array of homes, getting up close and personal with some of the most sustainable and contemporary design London has to offer.

For the first time ever The Collective Old Oak is throwing open its doors and joining the list of buildings being revealed to the curious public.

To lift the lid on Old Oak and Park Royal in West London, we teamed up with Open House and the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC). The result is a series of creative events for the general public and local community, all held at and around four hubs including The Collective Old Oak.

The Collective Old Oak

The exciting partnership has been in the making for months, and I had a chat with a few of the key players involved in realising it. 

Matt Lesniak, Community Experience Designer at The Collective, approached OPDC earlier this year about the possibility of being a part of Open House London. “As the conversation developed, we all realised the potential for The Collective Old Oak to host a wide mix of events and be a central location for this year’s Open House in West London.” Matt has played a key role in facilitating communication and liaising between the teams at The Collective, OPDC, and Open House.

OPDC said that this is the first time Open House has come to this area of west London: “Adding an industrial focus to the wider programme of activities across London through the unique opportunity of experiencing the inner workings of the industrial buildings and their histories, going beyond the front door.”

Open House worked with OPDC to deliver a weekend of events to engage our local community about the exciting businesses, architecture, and history of the neighbourhood. “The Collective was chosen as an activity hub because it is an exciting and innovative business and living space in the area and showcases contemporary and comfortable design,” said OPDC. “It is home to an incredibly diverse range of people and acts as a thriving and welcoming space for local people. Open House is all about encouraging Londoners to explore local living spaces and architecture and so we thought The Collective would be a perfect venue for the festival.”

Spanning both days of the Open House festival, lots of different events will be taking place throughout the building and along the canal to engage members and the local community.

Here are just a few of the things happening over the weekend:

People’s Bureau Exhibition – both days 11am-4pm
People’s Bureau are OPDC’s current ‘Artists in Residence’, taking up residency in a studio flat at The Collective from 17-19th September to host a programme of discussion and writing around the participatory art practice as a space for agonism, mediation and collaboration. These conversations will be recorded, broadcast and the resulting materials will be represented as part of an installation at The Collective during Open House weekend.

Works by People’s Bureau

Water Painting Workshop – both days, 11am-1pm and 2-4pm
Led by professional water-colourist, Jo Lewis. Experience how to use the outside environment to create your own watercolour masterpiece.

The Collective Instagram.

Ask OPDC Q&A – both days, 10am-3pm
Learn about the area’s future regeneration and development plans.

And some things for the little ones:

Fold Your City – both days, 11-4pm
Explore Old Oak and Royal Park’s incredible trade and industry in this children’s activity, by folding your own origami landmarks and adding to a huge collaborative map.

Drawing Rooms – both days, 11-4pm
Join famous illustrator, Salvatore Rubinno, to design and create your own dream living space.

Canal Compositions  – both days, 11am-12pm, 1-2pm, 2-3pm
Join professional musician Luke Crookes to investigate life on the water and create your own soundtrack inspired by what you find. To book your place, email:

Photo courtesy of OPDC

Most of the talks, tours and family activities are being led by locals who have an existing relationship with the OPDC and a deep knowledge of the area. Open City explained how they designed the program of events for the weekend. 

“We worked with OPDC to research local buildings, histories, industries, businesses, populations, artists and geography and created activities themed around our findings. We also considered what local families and adults would find fun and interesting.” The ultimate goal was “to deliver a weekend of events that would leave a legacy by enabling conversations following the weekend that will help inform the future and redevelopment of the area by OPDC.”

I asked Matt why The Collective wanted to be a part of Open House, and he said: “As part of our public engagement strategy, we want The Collective spaces to become neighbourhood activity hubs that provide services and support to local community groups and residents. 

Open House was the perfect weekend to organise our own Community Festival and open our doors to showcase what we believe co-living can be” – Matt Lesniak, The Collective

If you’re planning on exploring West London this weekend, come visit us at The Collective Old Oak and be sure to check out some of the other local buildings that are featuring too. These include The Old Oak Community Centre, which will host family-friendly activities including family yoga, arts, crafts and play; Acton Business Centre for musical workshops and architect drop-in sessions; and Ace Café, home to bike and car enthusiasts, where you can teleport yourself back to the 50s with fun activities for all ages.

Mark your calendars, this is a festival not to miss. 

For more information about OPDC, Open House London and The Collective’s events this weekend, click here.

If you do come down we’d love to see what you get up to. Tag us in your photos: @thecollective_living using #oldoakparkroyal