Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 8th 2015 Contents Stories by
Five years ago, when the property
on Erthig Road in Belmont which
included the longstanding printery
Granderson Bros Ltd was put up
for sale, an acquaintance asked
architect/art patron Sean Leonard
if he was interested. He was not.
A year later, the person pressed
Leonard to visit the place, and
Leonard---who co-founded the con-
temporary art space Alice Yard in
Woodbrook, has worked with leg-
endary masman Peter Minshall, and
designed the sets for all of 3Canal s
annual Carnival shows over the last
decade---saw its possibilities.
"When I went in I immediately
saw that, one, it was a very, very
sturdy and well-built structure; two,
it was a bit of an anomaly in Bel-
mont---not only its design but the
scale of it," he said.
Each floor in the two-story build-
ing---as one would expect from a
place that stored big machinery---is
airy, with rows of large windows
near high ceilings.
"I said [to myself] this feels like
something that could be interesting
to develop," Leonard recalled.
While Leonard decided on what
to do with the building permanently,
he invited his sister, handbag/acces-
sories designer Lupe Leonard, and
respected fashion designer Robert
Young to use it free of change and
bring others in to do the same.
Since Granderson Lab opened it
has become a fulcrum for creativity.
Artists and designers have been
occupying the space for short or
long periods. It s been the site of
art exhibitions and craft sales. Young
organises discussions around art
and social issues he calls Propaganda
This year s costume that won
Queen of Carnival, The Sweet
Waters of Africa, was constructed
at Granderson Lab.
It says something that the man-
agers of the space didn t even know
until after the results were pub-
"That s how our process goes,"
said co-manager contemporary
artist Christopher Cozier. "Things
have happened in the space that we
are not always cognisant of."
The occupants of Granderson Lab
help maintain the building and make
financial contributions when they
Leonard said he aims for collab-
oration rather than control.
"I m more interested in what are
the [small] things we can do togeth-
er in order for big things to happen,"
"We hear no so often," he added.
"We encourage [people] through
saying, Yes, it s okay to do [some-
thing] and it s okay to do it with
us, and we will see how we can
help. We try to engage like that and
then see what evolves."
To this end, they ve even left the
informal car mechanic, who had
been there long before Granderson
Lab, to continue operating in front
of the building. He sits at the
entrance awaiting customers.
"When we came he was really
concerned," said Cozier. "[But] we
never interfered with him. We greet
him; he s very happy."
Graphic designer Ali Morle remo es a book from a shelf in Granderson Lab, Belmon .
for art school
watch list ---Page B45
The four young partners in the
company Engine Design Studios---
which occupies one corner of the
ground floor in Granderson Lab---
set aside one hour every morning
to do something they think is vital
to their growth and success. They
CEO Alix Morle, 26, one recent
afternoon reached up and took a
book from the two-racked shelf on
the wall near his work station: it was
Conversations with Design Entre-
preneurs by Kern and Burn.
"Before you start work, one hour
of reading. That s company policy,"
said Morle. "You drink your coffee,
don t focus on e-mails, just pull out
a book and just read."
"When you walk into a design
firm you should be able to be
inspired," he said, explaining the rule
he and his partners came up with
"You can t do good work if you
The company has been at
Granderson Lab since October. They
work in various aspects of design:
labels, Web sites, screen-printing
As an artist, Morle has exhibited
in Alice Yard. Sean Leonard has
always supported his work, he said.
Leonard offered him the opportunity
to set up shop at Granderson Lab.
On the second floor of Grander-
son, clothing maker/designer Gre-
gory Young boasts he can make a
good fitting outfit without even
measuring a client. He d been at
Granderson Lab for a year at the
invitation of Robert Young (no rela-
tion), who he helps in the creation
of patterns and fashion prototypes.
Robert, in turn, gives him advice
about his work.
Gregory Young said he benefits
from working in such close proximity
to creative people in different fields.
The floors are essentially lofts, with
no walls separating work stations.
Young works adjacent to sculptor
Clayton Rhule and they ve collab-
orated on a day bed. Morle designed
a logo for the Web site Young is going
to set up. Young is making overalls
for the partners in Engine Design to
use while screen-printing. It s old-
"They come to me for stuff. I go
to them for stuff," said Young.
"Clayton would bring a customer
in here and they see my work and
He agreed with the suggestion
that occupants of Granderson Lab
were his collective muse.
"I m preparing to do a line and
I m drawing from everything I ve
experienced here over the last year.
I intend to use some of Alix s screen
printing. I intend to use some of
[Clayton s] shapes and forms and
some of Robert s colour," he said,
adding: "But I haven t told them
Morle said the environment of
Granderson Lab helps foster some-
thing there s not enough of in T&T.
"Caribbean people, we haven t
really gotten a grasp of collaboration;
we haven t really gotten a grasp of
holding your hand and working with
you," he said. "Is always hiding and
individualism, and that s the reason
we haven t gotten far.
"Sharing pushes you to the limit,"
he said. "We need to generate that
sense of collaboration."
An art space
grows in Belmont
A place o gro and collabora e
Engine Design S dios graphic designers a ork
Morle poses ne o his bicycle in
Granderson Lab, Belmon .
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