Say what you like about the Turner Prize, but this year’s winners just make your heart sing: Assemble are a London-based collective who work across the fields of art, design and architecture to create projects in tandem with communities who use and inhabit them.
Their idea is to celebrate an areas value in terms of architecture and cultural heritage, but to also support public involvement with partnership, local training, employment opportunities, resourcefulness and a DIY spirit. Which is exactly what they did with Granby Four Streets, a group of terraced houses in Toxteth, Liverpool. Originally built around 1900 to house artisan workers, the houses have had a rocky life – it’s taken the local residents ten years of fighting to save them from demolition, but now they’ve cleaned them up, organised a thriving monthly market, created a community and looked to Assemble for a little extra help.
Welcome to the Granby Workshop, a new social enterprise that manufactures handmade products for homes to sell. Their first range of products are designed to refurbish houses – the sort of stuff that was ripped and stripped out of the original houses when they were boarded up by the council.
Like lights cast using brick and rubble waste from the site.
They say ‘Our products are all are manufactured using processes which embrace chance, so that each is unique, developing in the hands of the people that make them’.
The profits will then go to support a programme engaging young people aged 13 to 18 in creative, practical projects.
It’s starting now – you can see what’s in the shop and place pre-orders (I have) for their first edition products which will support the launch of the business and the ongoing rebuilding of the area. If ordered before Christmas, you’ll receive a beautiful print by the artist Marie Jacofey. Each print will depict the product you’ve ordered whilst you wait for yours to be made..great design, a first-edition-part-of-the-Turner-Prize, with heartfelt spirit and all in the best cause…it really has to be the perfect gift. I sigh.
Laters, Kate x