ODR Studios x Marly

ODR Studios x Marly

“ODR wouldn’t be ODR without the plants. We just want to keep things growing and, yeah, keep it green in here”
- Alex Hodgkinson, ODR Studios founder


The Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey is a poster child for the phrase melting pot.

Attracted by the promise of work and fast growing industry, German and Irish immigrants moved there in the early 1800s. Polish and Italian families came next.

After that, through the 20th century, it was the turn of the Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilians to settle in the bustling four square miles of concrete, just a short hop from Manhattan. 

It’s the Portuguese who have grown the strongest roots in the area, with generations calling the neighborhood home, and a rich culture blossoming. 

The streets, full of restaurants, bars, and sports clubs carrying the tastes and colors of home, are even compared to Lisbon by some. 

One of the more recent transplants to settle in the area is Alex Hodgkinson, founder of ODR Studios. Originally from London, he has followed in the footsteps of millions of immigrants arriving on the East Coast under the watchful gaze of Lady Liberty. 

In 2017, Alex set out on renovating a 1920s factory located in the heart of the Ironbound district. The project would take a year to complete. 

The result is a stunning, multifunctional space, used by creatives, corporate clients, and the surrounding community alike. 


our studios plant collection


Alex has created something special at ODR, a blank canvas that pays homage to its industrial heritage. 

Huge windows usher in natural daylight, perfect for shooting photos and video. Exposed brickwork, faded signs, and an eclectic array of vintage furniture invite creatives to create, whatever their medium. 

The studio’s list of clients is impressive, the space utilized for all sorts of events by brands such as Adidas, Airbnb, Audible, Bmw, British Vogue, Complex, Equinox, Fiverr, Footlocker, Hennessy, Netflix, Nike, The New York Times, Polo Ralph Lauren, Vice, YouTube, and many more. 

Fittingly, Dua Lipa shot the music video for her hit, Electricity, in the old transformer and electrical parts factory.

A Hollywood film starring Ben Kingsley, Jules, has even had scenes shot inside the warehouse.

And ODR is versatile. With 10,000 square feet on offer and the ability to host up to 150 people, private dinners, weddings, birthday parties, and corporate offsites can also be booked. 

Intimate events work just as well. Acoustic concerts, group yoga, and candlelight suppers are regular occurrences on the calendar. 

Given its location, it’s unsurprising that community is at the heart of ODR and the love for locals is felt just as keenly. 

Street markets and photography exhibitions shine a light on and support local artists, whilst partnerships have been formed with nearby restaurants for event catering.

Live drawing sessions take place every third Sunday of the month and are open to the public. (In fact, Marly will be collaborating on one such session on April 21st. Snag a ticket here and send us your sketch of a Marly planter!)

Alex is keen to highlight members of the community too via interviews and short videos exploring their backgrounds. Neighbors like Silva, Fernando, Gil, Jerry and Moises. 

The melting pot and ODR are truly sizzling. 


marly planters in studio




So, where do plants come into all this?

Well, alongside creating a community hub, and a go-to shoot location for brands and media outlets, ODR has become a pocket of green nestled amidst the industrial scenery of Newark.

As Alex puts it, “plants have become a huge part of my routine, and a huge part of the studio”.

“It was super important for us to include greenery and natural elements when designing the space. For those of us working in the warehouse every day it's a huge boost to come in and see plants dotted all over. They bring a sense of calm to what can be a hectic workplace, they clean the air, and they really help people settle into the studio”.

As you run through the back catalog of videos and events shot at ODR, there is one constant - plants. And it seems that with every new project, a plant or two is added to the collection.  

And ODR’s clients love it. 

The plants can be seen in the background of everything from Dua Lipa’s music video and CBS soccer documentaries, to Sophie Turner trying out goat yoga for Vogue

In a recent launch dinner for creative agency STADE, the setting is practically a jungle of flora. 

marly planters stacked in studio with plants


With plants playing such a key role in his business, we were keen to learn more about the integration and performance of Marly into ODR Studios. 

Alex’s reviews were glowing.

He told us that the benefits of owning Marly planters are threefold. 

Firstly, he’s a busy man, often traveling around the country and internationally. Marly’s self-watering feature lets him rest easy when away from the warehouse. 

“I scout locations, work on productions and have friends and business all over. I recently went on a motorbike trip to Italy and was out of the country for a couple of weeks. It was a stress reliever knowing that I didn’t have to worry about my plants staying alive, or that brown leaves were developing in the back of photo shoots whilst I was gone”, he told us. 

Secondly, the durability of Marly planters means that Alex doesn’t have to worry about breakages when it comes to new sets being designed. 

“We often have over one hundred people in the studio, all rushing around, rigging lights, moving furniture, operating sound equipment, you name it. We’ve had things break before so it’s comforting knowing that my favorite plants are kept safe in their Marly planters”, Alex explained.

“Plus, I like to let clients get creative. We allow them to pretty much come in and build what they want for projects. The ability to stack my Marly planters comes in handy when a director wants to group natural elements together in interesting ways. It’s nice that they have that option. My Marly’s hardly seem to stay in one place but they never miss a beat!”

Thirdly, aesthetics. Alex has been careful to honor the factory’s industrial roots, reflect the working class communities around them, and bring a touch of modern design to the studio.

“Things have to look great or we’ll quickly find out from clients that they don’t. Probably the biggest compliment I can give to our Marly planters is that they are left in place by almost every client that we work with. Whether it’s an after wedding dinner, a photo shoot, or a celebrity interview, the Marly planters usually stay put, and you can actually see them in the background of a lot of projects.  

Of course, they are one detail of many, but so many clients have commented positively on our plant collection. I do think that having healthy, vibrant plants in and around the studio helps us a lot as a business”



In an interview with Alex last year, shot on location at ODR, he walked us through his plant care routine and ethos on plant ownership.

“When I’m caring for my plants, I’m usually listening to music. Often when I’m doing them I’ve got my headphones on and I really just zen in. It’s a good chance to reset”.

As he waters and prunes each plant, Alex tells us, “ODR wouldn’t be ODR without the plants. We just want to keep things growing and, yeah, keep it green in here”.

We’re looking forward to helping him do just that long into the future.

Maybe Marly will get a Hollywood credit someday soon too… 

A huge thank you to Alex for speaking to us about ODR and the impact plants and Marly have had on his business. 

You can find more information, and book an event at the amazing ODR studios via their website

Interested in partnering with Marly to elevate your space? We’d love to learn more about your business. Drop us a line here

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