We have recently been appointed to reimagine the former studio and headquarters of Fred Karno, formerly called the Fun Factory.
Dating back to 1906, the Fun Factory was notorious within its industry. Acts including Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel spent time here whilst performing in Fred Karno’s travelling circus. Props and sets were said to have been fabricated here as well as the space being used for performance rehearsals.
With a stucco façade, decorative window pediments place a unique feature in connection to its local context whilst internally, exposed steel trusses and large skylights can be seen to enhance the building’s dramatic industrial feel. In the building’s initial use, it was composed of two floors with double-height ceilings to accommodate large theatrical props, but currently is a flexible space with a studio and gallery area.
Many original features tell stories of the past, such as the uneven concrete floor or the industrial goods lift that stops on each floor. In the coming months, we’re very excited to explore the history of the building and use it as inspiration for our future design proposal.