Originally bought by Nicholas Groves-Raines and Kristin Hannesdottir in the 1980’s the basement was a disused part of a B-listed city centre tenement block in the Tron area of Glasgow. The flats above were developed and sold but the basement lay disused for over twenty years until GRAS, the Glasgow based design branch of the company was formed in October 2006. GRAS took occupancy in the small ground floor shop and began work developing the space beneath them. For four months GRAS acted as tenants, architects, clients, project managers and often labourers, allowing them to view the project in detail from a number of different viewpoints.
Great efforts were made to maximise the available floor area and ceiling height while trying to retain as much of the dramatic character of the space. The unassuming shop front entry at 11 James Morrison Street leads through the reception areas, at the rear of which an industrial mesh stairwell, lit from below leads down to the lower ground level studio space where five backlit sandstone columns stand complimented by clean white walls and a slate grey floor. The floor steps down from here to a sequence of double height studio spaces centred on large brick buttresses, lit by a full height glazed door to the commonly owned garden at the rear of the building. The resulting space is unexpected by the visitor and full of hints of Glasgow’s history, from the hand made brick walls to the remnants of Glasgow’s historic street frontages now hidden far below ground level.