Before becoming a creative entrepreneur and launching his creative work space startup Second Home in East London, Rohan Silva was on the other side of the fence, championing entrepreneurship and helping to kick start Tech City during his stint at Downing Street, where he was known as its wildest thinker.
This is all a long way from Wakefield, West Yorkshire where Rohan grew up and from his fairly traditional academic start. After reading law at Manchester University, which he found boring, he had stints at Amnesty International and the Human Rights Project before studying political philosophy at the LSE. It was there that his interest in politics and society was ignited and he soon became a policy advisor to David Cameron, both in opposition and later in Downing Street.
Ultimately feeling the itch for entrepreneurship himself, he left Downing Street to hatch his big idea. Second Home is the result, which he started in 2014 with co-founder Sam Aldenton. The idea grew out of discussions with property developers who noted there was a hole in the market. From there, Rohan found a disused carpet factory off Brick Lane which is now the 25,000 sq ft workspace that houses startups from across the creative industries, from fashion to PR to music to design. Complete with a massive central table on the ground floor which can be raised at night to create a vast performance space and in-house restaurant Jago run by Ottolenghi alumni, it has become an inspiring and glamourous working space the likes of which are normally only available to multinationals.
To build on the lustre, through a combination of excellent taste, savvy and luck, the architects he hired to refurbish the space were Spanish firm SelgasCano, who subsequently won the highly prestigious commission to design the Serpentine Gallery’s annual Summer Pavilion in 2015. And trailblazing again, Second Home announced in July 2015 that they would buy it – and take it to LA where it will be the scene of cultural events. A second home for Second Home.
Read more about Rohan
1. Are you cool enough for this workspace? why Second Home is a workplace of the future, by Joshi Herrmann, Evening Standard, 4 December 2014
2. London’s coolest office is doing something very unusual, by Oscar Williams-Grut, Business Insider, 25 June 2015