Your practical partner for learning and teaching space development
Co-DB provides joined-up consultancy, design and build, underpinned by in-depth, hands-on collaboration.
Collaborative Design and Build (Co-DB) fills a gap in the market that has prevented educationalists getting the best out of their physical environment. We provide an intelligent, collaborative way to fit out your learning and teaching spaces.
Whatever your situation, Co-DB provides the tools and energy to get your space working hard for you. We provide specialist consultancy, design and delivery of joinery based fit-out projects to leading educational, cultural and creative organisations across the UK.
With over 200 co-designed projects delivered to date, from £3,000 discovery pieces to £300,000 complete fit outs, experience spans the educational, cultural and creative sectors.
Every project is bespoke, with a tailored approach taken in each case. Our process is simple. We work with you to discover a solution together, and then help deliver it in the most cost effective and enjoyable way possible, involving all stakeholders.
Meet the team
Meet our founder, James Sale, a collaborator and innovator to the core.
Growing up as a true 'Ikea kid' of the 80s and 90s I learned early on that, secretly, the big, complex world around us is actually made up of smaller, more manageable components, and that when broken down into simple actions even young children can have a powerful, tangible impact on their environment. At 16, after a solid and straightforward primary and comprehensive school experience, that revolutionary notion formed the basis of my scholarship application to UWC Atlantic College, where for two years as a sixth-former I lived with 250 other students in a 12th century castle on a windy Welsh coastline. There, bringing young people together from over 80 different countries to learn collaboratively from each other and the environment around us was at the heart of an ethos that seeks to make 'education a force for world peace'1. This combined passion for working together with the materials around us to make the world a better place has led to some amazing opportunities, including: studying architecture and urban design at UCL and London Metropolitan universities; winning commissions and bursaries for travel and research in Italy, Finland and Japan; working as an architectural interpreter at the Sorrel Foundation during the Building Schools for the Future years and at architects and urban designers Adams & Sutherland on complex public realm schemes; co-founding the critical-thinking young people's program Critical Engagement; developing and co-running the award winning street play service Pop Up Parks; leading the disability design group MyDesign at the Bromley by Bow Centre; and working on early incarnations of the now re-named Institute of Imagination in London. All the time honing my co-design practice and use of space, making and materials within it. In 2012 I helped incorporate the co-operative workshop RARA where I was based in Hackney, London. As a group we become one of an early wave of collectives working at the intersection of architecture, art, participation and making in the city at the time. As commissions mounted, I founded Co-DB in order to provide joined-up, participatory design and build projects to a wider, more institutional audience, by backing them up with professional level service and expertise. At Co-DB we work with innovators in the education, cultural and creative sectors to push the boundaries of what's possible with budgets and think spatially about their teaching and learning strategy. We bring the empowering acts of design and making to the people who use spaces, and translate their in-depth experiential knowledge into better learning environments for everyone. Now with my own children we play, learn and build together everyday. They are regular visitors to the studio and workshop and its a privilege to share my work with them as often as they are interested! As I've done from their age, we explore materials together, delighting in how they effect space and our experience of the world around us. We enjoy it on equal terms, as co-explorers, -learners and-teachers.