Ciel Creative Space completes expansion of Bay area’s unique, multi-purpose studio, sound stage and artistic sanctuary

Ciel Creative Space, a unique, multi-purpose artistic sanctuary where creative minds can explore, collaborate and produce, has announced the completion of five new studios, more than doubling the space’s size to now span an entire city block. 

A wholly women-operated business co-founded by Cecilia Caparas Apelin and Alexis Laurent, Ciel Creative Space now encompasses over 40,000 square feet of studios and workspace designed as a haven for creatives in art, fashion, tech and entertainment to create, produce, entertain, teach and connect.

“After navigating through an unpredictable 2020, we are thrilled to welcome the creative community back to our beautifully designed, bigger than ever space where creativity and productivity can thrive,” said Apelin.  “Ciel Creative Space is a story of resilience and boundless potential. With the vision of creative expression and the structure to support it, Ciel lives true to its mission to make space to be human.”

Ciel Creative Space opened in February of 2019 with four studios in a 16,500-square-foot space. In 2020, while still a very new company, the pandemic hit, resulting in an economic shutdown that forced all Ciel services to a halt. With smart investing and tight expense management, Ciel slowly re-opened at reduced capacity and took the opportunity of the business slow-down to double the original size, acquiring and building-out an additional portion of the warehouse that covers a full city block. It now offers nine studios ranging from 1,000 to 3,700 square feet for photoshoots, virtual events, a workspace known as the Atelier, creative suites for drop-in collaboration available for the day or by the hour, and a café. 

The entire building is engineered with state-of-the-art, world-class amenities and services to support photo and video shoots and creative work. It is not only equipped with the largest three-wall cyclorama in the Bay Area, but also for virtual streaming with enterprise fiber and digital equipment available onsite. Little Giant Lighting & Ranahan Production Services are also housed on-site to provide production equipment rentals.

“One of the most exciting new features of the expansion is the bridging of the original space and the acquired space,” said Apelin. “It creates an opportunity for full buyouts of the entire space and is equipped with a brand-new, state-of-the art soundstage. It’s so exciting. We really feel primed for success as we celebrate the renewal and rebirth of Ciel in 2021.”

Apelin’s vision for Ciel was to create an artistic sanctuary guided with a design that integrates urban, nature and art into a bright, warm and energetic creative space. Laurent brought this vision to fruition through his philosophy of “urban acupuncture” – a place that frees up blockages and tensions so energy and creativity can flow. Ciel’s interior palette is clean and white, offset by cold, raw metal juxtaposed with warm wood accents. The outdoors and nature are welcomed inside through massive glass windows that let in abundant natural light, as well as live plants throughout. The works of local artists – for example, SKIN, a series of powerful photos shot by notable art collective HER PLACE IS IN which exhibited at Ciel from September 2019 to November 2020 – are on display throughout the space and proceeds from their sales are donated to local nonprofits that support youth, arts and the local BIPOC community. 

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Born and raised in the East Bay Area, Cecilia Caparas Apelin is the daughter of Filipino parents who taught her about business and instilled in her a deep appreciation for art. Her career spans two decades in advertising, music, radio, tech and fashion in roles that include creative director, executive producer and senior brand manager. She has worked with top brands to market their products and services and has built creative studios both in-house and with agencies to support art direction and production.

As photo art director at Old Navy, Apelin worked with the re-branding team to elevate Old Navy’s online presence, leading to an increase in online sales and revenue. She has led major brand campaigns as both creative director and executive producer for internationally recognized companies such as Gap Inc.and Logitech. As the owner of her own creative agency, Indigo Sky Creative, Apelin leads a team of creators to produce content for the likes of Condé Nast, Gap, Tailored Brands, Airbnb, Facebook and Samsung. To build community and support networking, she regularly organizes events for local creative professionals.

Alexis Laurent is an artist, visionary and founder of Laurent Studio, a boutique firm providing design, development, architecture and project management. The studio develops projects with unique character, emphasizing the distinctive history and neighborhood of a property.  He is the designer of The Pearl in SF where he oversaw the art installations and fabrications for the interior and exterior.  As an early investor in Zeus Living, Laurent remodeled three multi-unit buildings in SOMA, introducing the concept of providing turn-key corporate housing for today’s global professional.

Ciel Creative Space is located at 2611 Eighth Street in Berkeley, California. It is ADA accessible and located in a neighborhood with ample street parking. For more information about Ciel Creative Space, please visit For information about booking or leasing space, please call 510-898-1586 or submit a request here.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Hwee Peng Yeo, Executive VP, Glodow Nead Communications, US: 415-394-6500, [email protected]

About the author

Linda Hohnholz