Week 12 | Britain’s Next Top Designer: 29.03.10

March 29, 2010

 “A feather room is exactly the kind of leftfield proposal that would get a young architect noticed!”

First up: Langley Grammar School

This week, we welcomed back the year 9 students from Langley Grammar School for the second part of the schools workshop. 


As you will surely remember from our Week 2 blog post, we gave the kids a brief to design a stage set for their school canteen that would allow lunch to be served during the day and a show to be performed in the evening.


What do you mean, you don’t remember? What about in Week 8, when we told you about the pupils coming in for the first part of the programme? That was only last month, seriously… 


Well, anyway, the Langley Grammar kids came back in to the studio to show us their designs. Each group presented their sketches to us and we had a plenary discussion about how to move the designs forward. 


A few interesting ideas emerged from our discussions, including a money-saving idea to replace the seats with a giant carpet, which would be rolled out for the evening show; an ambitious design for collapsible stadium seating, taking the form of a gigantic chest of drawers that pulls out for each theatrical performances, and a fantastical trap door idea for the entire stage to disappear below the floor when the canteen is being used to serve lunch. 


We were enthused by all of the designs put forward by the kids, many of which demonstrated individual thought and all of them showed off the young mind’s propensity to think big, but one proposal stood out from the rest of them, in large part due to its complete disregard for the brief we set the students. 


The standout idea was for a backstage ‘feather room’ for the actors and performers to throw themselves into in order to wind down after a performance. Genius! You can forget the brief to address the canteen’s duality of purpose, because a feather room is exactly the kind of leftfield proposal that would get a young architect noticed – give that group a scholarship!


With the students buzzing with creativity, we sent them back to school to begin transforming their 1:50 sketches into 1:20 models in time for the end of the summer term, when we will be visiting Langley Grammar to critique their final designs.

Followed by: Kensington & Chelsea College

On Thursday we hosted a group of mature students from the interior architecture course at Kensington and Chelsea College. Their tutor Joe Lynch has set them the task of redesigning the 20th century galleries at the V&A to accommodate a new exhibition about light, so we listened to each student present their project and then we gave them some input and feedback. 


The overall standard of work was high and the mature students presented their work extremely professionally, a testament to the experience that many of them had gained from working in the real world. 

And The Winner Is…

Come off it, you should know we don’t play favourites. And don’t ask us to pick between Langley Grammar and Kensington & Chelsea College either, because everyone’s a winner in our eyes…including Harris Tweed, from the looks of this article in the Telegraph: 


After our Studio 10 visit to the Outer Hebrides (in Week 7, for those of you who clearly need to do some geriatric brain training on the Nintendo Wii), it’s good to see that our historic brands are being taken care of, especially in the same week as we have been so impressed by the students at Langley and Kensington & Chelsea College, who may just be the future of British art and design. 

And at the end of the day, perhaps some good will come out of Doctor Who’s stranglehold on the Saturday evening television schedule. Live long and prosper, Harris Tweed…oh no, wrong show. Maybe we also need some brain training after our heavy session last week…

Don’t you dare ask ‘what happened last week?’

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