Inside Hackney: Byron Pritchard

Byron Pritchard is an artist and craftsman who lives and works in Hackney. He grew up on the Colville Estate in Hoxton and the Trowbridge Estate in Hackney Wick, and studied furniture design at Kingston University.

He has an art studio at Southgate Studios and is a prolific builder of local bars and restaurants – among them Voodoo Ray’s, The Alibi, Birthdays, Jones & Sons, Mussel Men and Fontaine’s Bar – making him the recipient of free drinks across the borough.

He conceived and built De Beauvoir Studios in 2013.

‘The concept behind De Beauvoir Studios was to create a community of creatives, and it was very important to me that it should be people who are engaged in a craft, making things – not people who are at a computer all day.

The studios are on the first floor of a De Beauvoir warehouse. It all had to be stripped down to bare bones. I built the individual spaces to different bespoke sizes, using the windows to define each one.

I worked with a small team but did a lot of it myself because my budget was really tight. While I was building I was reaching out to find the right balance of tenants.

The ceramicist Kate Malone has a space at the back of the building, which gets flooded with light in the morning. Kate makes and fires pieces at the kiln with a team of assistants – they are also working artists.

Next door, Claudio Passavanti runs Sunlight Square Records, a soul, Latin and jazz label.

There are two fashion houses: Michael van der Ham creates outstanding womenswear, and Robert Wun is a young conceptual designer whose work is really sculptural.

At the front of the building there’s a big studio where Madeline Hale runs a hairdressers – Studio 90. Madeline cuts hair for pretty much everyone in the building.

And Ujin Lin, who was the creative director of Prada, has a small space where he and a team make promo videos and short films.

I’d like to work on a similar project again. Most of my family have moved further east, but I like the familiarity of staying in the area I grew up in. I’m dedicated to Hackney. It’s a privilege to be part of the transformation of the borough.’