5 April 2024

Meet the two Illawarra women building an 'antidote' to community division in Bulli

| Dione David
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CSPACE co-founders Miranda Bond and Lisa Hughes.

In a two-storey former industrial warehouse in Bulli, Illawarra entrepreneurs Miranda Bond and Lisa Hughes have created a haven of consciousness, creativity and community. Photo: CSPACE.

Unit 5, 177B Princes Highway in Bulli is a nondescript building, but a single step beyond the deceptively austere facade transports you to “another world” – a two-level former industrial warehouse now known as CSPACE.

“People walk in and invariably the response is ‘Oh my goodness!'” co-founder Miranda Bond says.

“We call it the ‘CSPACE Playhouse’ because there’s a big focus on fun, play and creativity.”

Beautifully decorated, CSPACE comprises a “Main Space” complete with a small, raised stage and a more intimate “Mezzanine Space”, with co-working office spaces on the way.

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Since opening in January this year, the spaces have played backdrop to everything from photoshoots to gallery exhibitions and hosted everything from meditation groups to “ecstatic dance” sessions propelled by rhythms from the likes of DJ Pat Maloney.

Though seemingly as eclectic as the furniture, the events all share a common thread, and it has to do with CSPACE’s higher purpose.

“CSPACE is a response to what’s been happening to people as a result of world events over the last few years. We’ve become so disconnected, divided and isolated,” Miranda says.

“Everyone said the world would never be the same again after COVID and in a lot of ways, it isn’t. It seems like our communities have split off into different factions. We are struggling more than ever with loneliness and anxiety. It’s like the new pandemic.

“We want CSPACE to be an antidote.”

Miranda is perhaps best known for growing the global cosmetics brand Inika Organic Australia from her kitchen bench, which was sold in 2013. Her CSPACE co-founder, sensuality coach Lisa Hughes, co-created Australia’s first female vibrator made by women for women, the BeBe.

The two met when Lisa attended an Illawarra women’s business circle hosted by Miranda and became firm friends.

Their brainchild CSPACE is named for its three pillars – consciousness, creativity and community – and all events hosted there fall under one or more of these values.

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Programming includes a range of regular recurring events, including free meditation workshops hosted by Miranda.

“After Inika was sold, I took some time off and discovered meditation. It changed my life, dramatically, and in many different ways. The more my meditation grew and my experiences evolved in that arena, the more my interest in spirituality and consciousness developed,” she says.

“The workshops are for anyone interested in meditation, but generally I find the people who come have tried everything but can’t seem to meditate, or they suffer from anxiety or stress.

“It’s divine. People really come together and the space is so healing and nurturing. As soon as you walk through the door you go ‘Ahhh.'”

But there are a range of one-off events as well, including community workshops and think tanks. This fortnight alone, guests can immerse themselves in the boundless realm of storytelling with renowned spoken word performer and stand-up artist, Susie Fagan and the “Life Drawing Liberation” workshop with Illawarra artist Tegan Georgette.

“CSPACE is a place where people can come together to share diverse opinions and viewpoints with respect and see where we have common ground. Right now, that’s so crucial,” Lisa says.

“The breadth of events facilitates the impetus behind CSPACE, and that’s to share in the human condition. And it highlights a truth – that we have far more in common as fellow humans than we realise.”

For more information or to book a space or reserve your place for an event, visit CSPACE.

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