The Story Behind Our Name

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We owe a certain debt to the field of architecture when recalling the origins of our name. In 2019, news broke that Johannesburg-based architecture firm, Counterspace Studio, had won the bid to design the Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Hyde Park the following year (the launch was later postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic).


Beyond being impressed by the accomplished feat of a women-led firm in a fellow developing country, we were very taken by their name. Counterspace. It sounded emphatic, a good fit for the work they do, and sleek. So we asked ourselves, what was it about the name that appealed so much?


Our theory? The second syllable begins with a T, which we identified as a strong syllable starter in English, alongside D. So we went through words where the second syllable begins with a T or D. After much deliberation and staring at walls, the name Protagonist emerged.


Protagonist evokes literary narratives and theatre. It refers to an advocate, someone who acts with conviction. A captain of their own destiny. It describes us well we think.


Hi, we’re Protagonist Studio. Pleased to meet you.