Monday, June 18, 2012

(Mosaic image above from Lyn Atelier's site; image of Undercroft below by T.Frewin; all other photos by me)

For the last few months, I’ve been involved in a project at the Southbank Centre called Festival Village, initiated by architectural and design practice Lyn Atelier in association with the SC and Studio Tilt. For those who’ve walked on that stretch of the Southbank promenade in-between the BFI and the RFH, you’ll recall a darkly-lit industrial-looking zone nicknamed The Undercroft, where teenagers ply their skateboard and BMX tricks on concrete slopes while onlookers watch against a backdrop of urban graffiti (pictured). Behind those walls, and under the Queen Elizabeth Hall (which is on the level above) a hollow space previously used for storage has been transformed into a bar, cafĂ© and exhibition space in conjunction with the SC’s Festival of the World taking place at the moment. This has included housing bands - the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra from Venezuela among them -  from all over the world playing in the main venues of the SC, as part of the FOTW. Over five months, I’ve been one of the volunteers helping out from the start, from initially discussing the plans for graphics and wayfaring to helping get involved with the physical work of demolishing walls; installing a bar; making, painting and varnishing furniture; creating walls; and who knows what else, all of which has been a fun and involving experience. One of the most rewarding experiences was seeing the end result at the opening party, after five months of development. The pictures below document the changes that have taken place in the site as it’s been developed over five months leading up to June 2012. Here's what the site looked during construction...

...and here's what the finished product looks's even featured in an issue of The Late Show recently. All that sanding, lifting wood, and other physical exertion was worth it in the end!

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