Dezeen, a leading design publication, has featured five interior design student’s proposals to reinvent the former Woolworths department store in Margate, UK as part of the Virtual Design Festival 2020. The building is currently occupied by the Margate School of Art, which collaborated with the students.
In their final design projects of the BA (Hons) Interior Design course, the students considered how to preserve and conserve the intrinsic qualities of the local area, while at the same time invigorating the quickly changing urban environment. The resulting design proposals reflect on and complete each student’s personal journey through the course.
The students have also created an online exhibition of their work on the new Regent’s Interior Design platform. In yesterday’s online opening event the graduates joined their fellow students and tutors to present their projects and celebrate their achievements and great design work.
Please visit the online exhibition for a closer look at the projects.
The students have also published their work on a separate website.
About the project – ‘Urban Flux’
Overall design brief
This year’s BA (Hons) Interior Design graduates set out to investigate ideas of impermanence and temporality in the city, exploring transformation, change and flux. Over the course of the year, they worked in two different cities, both steeped in history but undergoing constant change. The first, London, is known for its transient populations, who pass through and leave their mark on the cityscape. The second, Margate, has recently become a migratory point for ex-Londoners, settling in and transforming the quiet seaside town into a buzzing artist enclave, nicknamed Shoreditch-on-Sea. In both places old and new co-exist, as do preservation and renewal.
Student name: Hannah Gates
Project title: The Deep: Diving into Marine Geology
The Deep proposes a cave diving training centre and marine geology research facility in the former Woolworths shop, inspired by the local Margate Caves.
A tank structure meanders throughout the building, the key feature of the design. The tank expands out of the facade onto the high street, angled towards the sea. The relationship between building and tank creates a thought-provoking concept by demonstrating a flooded building, reflecting the impact of global warming and rising sea levels.
In addition to research laboratories for the cave divers and marine geologists, the building also aims to introduce the local community to scuba diving and marine geology.
Student name: Maria Gedike
Project title: Margate Sky Archive & Observatory
The ‘Margate Sky Archive & Observatory’ aims to uncover the hidden beauty and history of Margate, illuminating the existing in a new ‘light’ for the public to experience through the use of colour and light.
Spaces such as the Sky Library & Archive, the Live Sky Portal and the Sky Observatory encourage visitors to appreciate the beauty of the skies, both during the day and at night, and show what they could be missing outside by spending a day at home or working in the office. Viewing pods and platforms offer a different perspective view of the seaside.
Student name: Emily Hutchins
Project title: The Art Foundry
The Art Foundry introduces an iron foundry into Margate, which will be accessible to local artists looking to cast iron sculptures, whilst also offering youth from the Pie Music Factory a new creative experience and an opportunity to learn new skills.
The project was inspired by Margate’s lost Victorian pier; a historic piece of British industrial design made possible due to the Victorian industrial revolution.
The design, informed by the iron casting process, is organised around two opposing moments: the glowing heat of the furnace versus the cool calm of the vertical concrete wall, which divides the workshops from the front of the building.
Student name: Mercy Sossion
Project title: Store 192 – Print Press Archive
This project aims to explore how preservation and renewal can co-exist in a place undergoing urban transformation, such as Margate. Store 192 aims at rejuvenating a lost industry by creating of a Printing Press Archive in conjunction with the Margate School of Art.
The design strategy is based on moving typography, typesetting and compositing type in a chase. A grid system is used to insert new functional blocks within the existing building frame, comparative to setting type within a chase for printing. The materiality of the project evokes and combines two more lost crafts, papermaking and seaweed harvesting, to create a series of translucent screens.
Student name: Courtney Celine Welham
Project title: Maritime Machine
Maritime Machine is an Oceanic Research Institute, focusing on health benefits of seawater and the oceanic environment and combining endurance swimming training with scientific research. The design is inspired by Margate’s historic sea bathing culture, the history of the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital, and explorations into marine flora and structures.
The project aims to reinstate the lost connection of the site to the. The existing first floor has been replaced by a boardwalk structure inspired by Margate’s lost pier. Vertical lab spaces, clad with seaweed infused bio-resin, pierce through the double-height space, allowing glimpses of the environmental scientists’ work.