Making our new home from home  

2020 was going to be the year A New Direction launched a new workspace and learning hub for young people and our partners.

Our very own ‘Grand Designs’ that like the popular TV show didn’t quite go to plan (!) but eventually developed into an innovative collaboration between an exciting set of designers and makers.

In late 2019 we commissioned Studio Weave to be our lead architects who have been amazing throughout – coaching us to make decisions, helping us to find the right specialist contractors and going above and beyond when everything changed.

After a pause to reset after Lockdown, we picked up with our design team textiles designer Georgia Bosson; social enterprise fabrics manufacture Fashion East; furniture makers Hub Workshop; and interior experts Gibb & Cotter. All were affected by the pandemic in different ways (e.g. manufacturing PPE for NHS, cancelled contracts) but have remained committed to the project whatever the external environment has thrown up – thank you!

In June we worked with Georgia Bosson on a sub-project called ‘Work from Home // Home at Work’a co-creation process for all staff working from their homes to design the themes, colour and pattern of large-scale fabrics for the space. Over a month in June we explored our creativity and responded to inspiration and reflective tasks; we watched and listened to artwork, films, music and podcasts and read blogs; we observed what makes our home a home – what gives us comfort and is personal; we gathered and shared artefacts and things with colour and texture that felt like home; and we did still life drawing exercises on Zoom which created a body of work which is informing the design of textiles which will form the backbone of the space.

Office Redesign sketching excercise

The experience was a lovely way to reflect on the strangeness of the situation and build creative confidence as a team.

Through these sessions I want to delve into what makes your home feel like home and offer up some insight into some of my favourite artists homes in return. The same four walls may be starting to close in a bit, but perhaps we can expand the horizons by engaging with our spaces in a new way and finding pockets of joy amongst the chaos.

From Georgia’s welcome note

The project is nearing its final stages. We will share an update next year when it’s complete and you’ll have to come visit when that’s possible, hopefully in the not too distant future!