Forgotten spaces, Somerset House - ThinkJPC

Forgotten spaces, Somerset House

In an apt location in the Lightwells & Deadhouse at Somerset House, 26 imagined spaces in various forgotten locations in and around London are showcased.

One of my goals as an MYOC at JPC is to explore the current nature of the design industry and serves as a great excuse to delve in and see what’s going across the thriving London design scene, when before procrastination would have left me saying “I’ll do it next weekend…”. My first port of call has been this insightful trip and has fuelled my hunger to stockpile inspiration to drive my own creativity and upgrade my design abilities.

I visited last week, and as I walked down past the dark, dank old coal holes one floor below ground, I questioned what I was heading towards. All became clear as I came face to face with some impressive work filled with huge amounts of imagination. Each exhibit is displayed on a board held by hefty scaffolding with accompanying pieces of work to the side. The location and style of the exhibition support the work so well that each imagined project felt real.

I love seeing neglected spaces that would otherwise be wasted and disused being brought to life, ready for people to explore and inhabit. The upcycling of physical spaces show design thinking in action, using creativity to regenerate and re-beautify. It’s part of our ethos at JPC, which is best illustrated in the Ugli creative campus. This series of not so attractive and vacant BBC office buildings were given a new lease on life thanks to the anarchic and warm brand we created around it. Today it’s a successful hub of professional creatives, supporting the amazing businesses that have thrived there and regenerated White City.

My personal highlight of the showcase was a series of brass urban flares, proposed to self-sufficiently light the streets of Hackney Wick. They rely on a Victorian technology that existed to vent the smells of the sewer away from the pavements above, fuelled by latent energy from the sewage itself. This restoration plan was displayed using tinted laser-etched perspex which showcased their plan perfectly. (Thanks Threefold Architects).

Other fantastic recycling imaginings on show included a plan to repurpose Aldwych tube station as a public pool, a conversion of old telephone boxes into bike repair kiosks and a centre for forgotten beer in Wandsworth High Street. Maybe some of these ideas will come to life now they’ve been reintroduced – one can hope!

This exhibition runs daily until the 10th November 2013, so pop in if you get a chance!