Space for all seasons

A multi-dimensional incubation centre, Octo Spaces is an avenue for arts and innovation

Art meets technology at Octo Spaces on the fifth floor of the Accord Blu building in Banjara Hills. An art installation by Zarna Pandav and Vidya Chauhan of Hyderabad Central University at the entrance divides the space into two segments and is an avenue for arts and innovation respectively. “The 30×10 installation denotes that a human being has two sides — technology and nature,” shares Rahul Reddy of Octopus Studios, a marketing and communication consulting company. Made of scrap material, the installation contains broken mirrors, tin sheets, computer components and wooden pieces.

Rahul Reddy

Rahul Reddy  
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By arrangement

As an incubation centre, it is a hub for young innovators working towards health care and education. It is also a home for performing artistes wanting a space to rehearse, a venue for panel discussions, tech events, meet-ups and health talks or an informal and intimate space for storytelling/poetry sessions and workshops. Founded by Rahul, the space is yet to be formally launched but its operations began from April this year. “As a group, we have a keen interest for start-up innovation,” shares Rahul, who was among the 34 selected from across India to start an incubation centre of the Atal Incubation Centres programme under Atal Innovation Mission launched by the Central Government. “I visualise this space with two kinds of people — entrepreneurs and artists. The discipline of an entrepreneur is indisputable and creativity of an artist is unparalleled. I wanted them to co-exist, help and learn from each other,” he says, adding he didn’t want to limit the space to an incubation centre alone. “It is an incubator in the day but in the evenings and weekends the space is empty. Since we do not have enough cultural spaces in Hyderabad, I wondered if this space could be used for it.”

A workshop being held at Octo Spaces

A workshop being held at Octo Spaces  
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By arrangement

Different groups began holding sessions choosing the space according to their events. Small format events with 50 people are held near the entrance and a big space with workstations and a stage is sufficient for large events. At the other end is a space with a glass partition and it opens to the lawns with a huge art work done by Shagufta Mehdi. “If the partition is removed, we can hosta sizeable crowdhere,” he says, adding that they have so far hosted 60 events. Creative sessions

With no dedicated workspace, Octo Spaces fosters a new-age informal working style. “Most of my guys are sitting in the garden area as they are happy working there. The space is not permanent so anyone can sit anywhere and work. Whenever there is an event, they are informed so that they can either participate or stay away. The incubator side is the formal side where we restrict the access as it is a laboratory for our start-ups and products.”

A session in progress

A session in progress
 
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By arrangement

Rahul informs that they are working with 22 start-ups from across Telangana at the incubation centre. “Most of them are college students and we are mentoring them, helping them with access to investors and the legal and financial services.” So are multi-dimensional spaces an answer to the lack of cultural spaces in city? “Yes,” he says. “Spaces have to be innovative and adapt to the changing times. We need these spaces which can be used in multiple ways. A working space in the morning can be a coffee shop in the evening. Singapore buzzes with its cultural spaces and Hyderabad has such a rich history and culture; it is disappointing that we do not have more such venues.”

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