Flux studio: a renovation story

By Jamie Hovell
March 2024
First client shoot at Flux studio in action

“Do you want the good news, or the bad news?” Uh oh. “The good news is we can get the floor done this evening. The bad news is, we’re helping.”

This interaction pretty much epitomises the renovation journey of Flux studio. Two managing directors, two partners and me. Mixing a metric sh*t-ton of concrete on a chilly January evening. We didn’t really have an option – it was the only way to ensure our laughably ambitious timeline to transform an unloved industrial unit into a sleek photography studio – could go ahead. And you know what? We bloomin’ loved it!

The Engine House - before the renovation

A ten-week transformation

Seeing Dan in his high-vis jacket and hard hat was not only a personal highlight, but an indication of what was to come. Just over two months of wrangling contractors and seeing our vision taking shape. It was a slog, and I’ve learned more about macerator systems than I would like to admit… but the result is remarkable. Unrecognisable from the unit we took over in mid-December.

We’d had our eye on the space at the Engine House for a while, and we had been scoping out places to become a photography studio for even longer. We visited warehouses, old car workshops and we were even offered a car park space for a temporary cabin. None of which were remotely suitable, which made returning to Fluid’s home at the Mill even more bittersweet, as on our doorstep, we knew there was a perfect space in the Engine House – plenty of room, high ceilings and ground level access. 

We told ourselves that if it ever became free, we couldn’t miss the opportunity. And take the opportunity we did in December 2023, with perhaps greater gusto than we had ever imagined… 

I touched on some laughably ambitious timelines above, and that is not even an exaggeration – I think I may have actually scoffed at first, when it was suggested we should aim for the new studio to be finished for mid-to-late February. But somehow, we did it. It’s borderline astonishing considering how the scope of the studio inflated as time went on. A huge part of that was Phil pulling miracles out of seemingly nowhere, with his own personal network of contractors swooping in to help. Phil can also take credit for the scope inflation too, but I won’t go there…

Flux studio renovation in progress

And here we are…

It's lovely having such a personal connection to what has become Flux studio. I’ve been involved in previous refurbishments at the main Fluid studio, but nothing quite as intense as the Flux studio journey.

Seeing the new space we had envisioned for so long, transform from a blank canvas and spring into life over the weeks, has been a real joy. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our fair share of hurdles and head-in-hand moments, but the fact that we now have an incredible and unique photography and filming studio makes the hard times worth it. I think the Flux project team has been guilty of just standing in there and drinking it all in. A true 'we made this happen' moment or two.

So here we are, pretty much at the end of the first phase of this journey – with the first client shoot in the bag, a website launch (www.flux-studio.co.uk) and we even held our first official event in the space, the Fluid agency day. 

I'm proud to say Flux studio is a space like no other in the Midlands. With an infinity cove, a fully-functional kitchen set, an audio booth and ground-level, drive-in access. It’s luxurious and functional in equal measure. And we're just so excited to make the most of it.

Welcome to the world, Flux.

Flux studio facilities