Nonterior sees the designer as a narrator, who engages with the eclectic, multi-layered experience of the contemporary world and who works this, in a multiplicity of ways, into the realm of design. This platform pushes the testing of ideas on a real site, in a real context, with real communities, stakeholders, external institutions and businesses. We investigate our site/s by creating large drawings and models that investigate social, political and cultural narratives; we then produce well-developed design propositions that respond creatively to these new stories. Students develop these proposals through an iterative design process and when possible, build and test them. Outcomes might be an interior or installation, exhibition, event, product or visitor experience. As we have engaged with real clients, we have adopted professional methods and working practices, seeing this as the opportunity to start real-life studio practice.
TITLE: SOHO STORIES
This year the Nonterior Platform is a series of live projects. Attempting an ambitious engagement with real-world contexts, students have each created projects that identify a site, a real-life client and a unique opportunity to design, produce and build a spatial experience. The projects might inform communities; overcome social divides; develop reputations; and increase visitor numbers or attract new audiences. By promoting methods which are participatory, multi-layered and meaningful your projects could potentially challenge accepted economic, social, cultural, environmental, sustainable and democratic norms. We have studied and experimented with various processes: various ways of acting on and using the materials from the site. As a platform, our commitment has beentowards testing, making, producing, and (eventually) building a real project.
The platform has studied the effects of change on one of London’s oldest and most colourful neighbourhoods, which is going through profound architectural and cultural transformation: Soho. The area is one of the most famous, well-known, well-loved – even notorious – neighbourhoods in London’s West End, an entertainment district known for its permissive attitudes. Originally developed as a fashionable parish for the aristocracy, it has passed through many lives: theatres, churches, high end restaurants, strip clubs and artistic organisations jostle shoulders around its narrow and historic streets. This area is currently undergoing massive transformation, as part of Europe’s biggest construction project (Crossrail). It is therefore a great time to consider how to intervene in the site at such a crossroads in its development.
Friends and Partners
David Chambers, Aberrant Architecture