35: The new creative space to foster Aberdeen talent

A new creative hub has emerged in Aberdeen, thanks to the vision of Mark Kemp, owner of the design agency FortyTwo Studio. His goal is to foster and retain young creative talent in the northeast of Scotland, and he has transformed the space at 35 Mid-Stocket Road into a vibrant co-working hub for the creative industries.

The hub includes two refurbished self-contained spaces designed to accommodate like-minded businesses. In addition, the building features a photography studio available for hire. It also serves as a creative base for aspiring young professionals entering the industry.

Image supplied by FortyTwo Studio

An opportunity to lay foundations

Kemp sees this venture, named 35, as a solid commitment to advancing the city's creative impact. The hub offers established practitioners, start-ups, and students a nurturing environment to grow their businesses and careers.

The expansion of FortyTwo Studio and the acquisition of new clients prompted the move to a larger space. However, Kemp also recognised an opportunity to lay the foundations for a more collaborative creative community in the region.

Support the next generation

Mark is keen to share the benefits of this new space, saying, “We aim to support the next generation of talent by deepening our collaboration with universities and colleges. We want to show there is real scope to carve a career in the commercial creative sector in the northeast.

“By creating this collaborative hub, we can offer students real-life industry experience through projects and opportunities that build their individual areas of expertise."

Image supplied by FortyTwo Studio

Nurture creative talent

His motivations extend beyond altruism. As the owner of FortyTwo Studio, he is keen to nurture and develop young creative talent in the region. The co-working hub provides an ideal platform to contribute to this objective.

Kemp purchased the former church hall at the end of 2019. However, due to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, he put the project on hold. But after an internal refurbishment, the team at FortyTwo Studio relocated from their Crown Street studio to their new home earlier this year.

Fine examples of brutalist architecture

First built in 1965, Beechgrove Church Hall was designed by the renowned Mackie Ramsay Taylor Architects, who also created Trinity Hall and the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen building on Holburn Street. Both structures are considered fine examples of Brutalist architecture in Aberdeen.

With over 25 years of experience in the industry, Mark Kemp established FortyTwo Studio at the end of 2015 with a commitment to providing strategic brand and digital work. The agency, which employs 11 talented individuals, specialises in brand development and strategy, boasting an impressive portfolio of high-profile clients across Scotland.

Image supplied by FortyTwo Studio

Space for collaboration

In addition to his work at FortyTwo Studio, Mark Kemp is co-founder of Conscious Leaders Scotland, a community of socially conscious business owners and thought leaders.

This new creative hub at 35 Mid-Stocket Road represents an exciting chapter in the creative landscape of Aberdeen. It offers space for collaboration, innovation, and talent to thrive.

K:ART | Bringing Art Outdoors

Aberdeen’s Kekun art studio and Polka design studio have teamed up to create K:ART. They have designed this innovative mobile exhibition system to help artists easily display their work outdoors. They’ve developed a versatile design, aiming to support as many artists and art styles as possible.

The K:ARTs will be able to pop up in various public spaces around the city, either on their own or in groups. The units will become outdoor art spaces, enabling artists to create and transport installations, display works of art and sell their products. Quickly erecting art hubs for the public to visit and interact with.

The idea has been driven through funding that Elev8arts were awarded Creative Funding by Aberdeen City Council.

Breaking the reliance on indoor spaces

The team first set out to think of inventive ways to get around the challenges that the pandemic had caused artists during the pandemic. Particularly looking at their reliance on traditional shows in indoor spaces.

Online shows helped to some extent. But not enough was being done to make use of outdoor spaces. These provide a much-needed aspect of social interaction that's just not available in digital environments. At the same time, hospitality venues had quickly pivoted to outdoor spaces…even here in Aberdeen.

Circumstances are constantly changing as restrictions come to an end. But regardless of what happens in the future, the opportunities for such a model of engagement and display are endless.

Artists Mary Butterworth, Jon Reid and Jenny Hood are the team at Kekun Studio. They are excited about K:ARTs' potential to provide artists with freedom of expression and alternative methods of interaction with their communities.

K:ART model on display at The Anatomy Rooms

They explained: "We'd love to see K:ART being used in different ways with artists creating unique mini-exhibitions across the city. At this stage, we're trying to keep the feedback process open and inclusive so that we can make the design as adaptable to as many different artists' needs and practices as possible. We're excited to see the final prototype and where it might lead the project in the future."

Keeping K:ART simple makes it versatile

Callum Barrack from Polka design studio worked on the physical creation of K:ART. His recent work includes the design work at the Greyhope Bay Centre. He, along with the team at Kekun, recognised that the design of K:ART was hinged around keeping it light and versatile. This principle will allow artists the freedom to adapt to their imagination and needs.

Having gone through various design revisions. Design factors included display, versatility, and practicality, as well as materials, size, weight, storage, and manoeuvrability. Modifications to the base unit can lead to other variations. Larger two-person units, mini-units, or units with specific tailored purposes. And so it's adaptable as possible to give artists the freedom to explore their use of K:ART.


We're excited to see what artists can make of K:ART, and can't wait to see them on the streets of the city. The potential to quickly and easily turn a park or a street corner into a pop-up art gallery is a fantastic prospect for Aberdeen.

The teams at Kekun and Polka are currently looking for input from artists in the city. If you think you might benefit from using a K:ART, please check out their project summary and fill in the short survey.

Feedback for the project is open until 21st April 2022.