Filtering by Tag: Art

Design and Dungeness

Added on by Stella Chapman.

Summer is over but I'll still visit my favourite beach, Dungeness  – a vast expanse of shingle on the Kent coast. What it lacks in traditional seaside charm, it more than makes up for in character, and if you look closely, design.

The monolithic Dungeness nuclear power station sets the tone of the unique landscape, which the Guardian perfectly described as 'the wild west meets the post apocalyptic'. It's this otherworldly, unconventional atmosphere that keeps artists and creatives visiting, and if they are lucky, making their homes here.

Design and Dungeness - View towards Mini Moderns beach house

Mini Moderns beach house

The two designers behind one of our favourite interior brands, Mini Moderns chose Dungeness for their retreat from London life. The 468 acre Dungeness Estate is home to only a handful of residents so they were lucky to snap up one of the Victorian railway carriages that were converted into homes for local workers in the 1920s. They stripped it back to reveal original features, opened up the space and gave it a signature retro twist with mid century furniture and their fabric, prints and homeware collections on show. There are some great before and after pictures, an overview and comments from designers Mark and Keith on this Design Sponge blog.

The living room

The living room

The living room view / kitchen detail

The living room view / kitchen detail

Inspired by their visits to Dungeness, Mini Moderns created the The Hinterland Collection including wallpaper and fabric featuring the two lighthouses that the beach house sits between. The collection is featured in Issue 4 of the collectable Penny Newspapers, which is sold out but has been published online here.

Dungeness Wallpaper – Mini Moderns

Dungeness Wallpaper – Mini Moderns

Dungeness Fish Shack sign inspired Mini Moderns typographic fabric prints

Dungeness Fish Shack sign inspired Mini Moderns typographic fabric prints

Contemporary architecture

Yes, Dungeness is a bit ramshackle, littered with old fishing boats, bits and bobs from the Second World War and discarded bits of machinery. Even the contemporary architecture that has been added over the last decade does its best to fit into this patchwork. The Pobble House by Guy Hollaway Architects, The Shingle House by NORD for Living Architecture and Gelon Hanna House by Simon Conder Associates were designed to meet strict planning rules. But they are all the more creative for it – black rubber cladding and other materials designed not only to withstand a battering from the storms, but look better for it. The Pobble and Shingle houses are available as holiday rentals if getting 'back to basics' in style is your thing.

The Pobble House – Guy Hollaway Architects

The Pobble House – Guy Hollaway Architects

The Pobble House

The Pobble House

The Shingle House – NORD Architecture

The Shingle House – NORD Architecture

The Shingle House view

The Shingle House view

Prospect Cottage

You can't mention Dungeness without Prospect Cottage. The most famous resident, filmmaker Derek Jarman, spent his last years here in the former fisherman's cottage, where he created a stunning garden which is well maintained today. It feels both wild and sculpted and its development is lovingly described in his book 'Derek Jarman's Garden' – his last and an inspiring read 11 years on. Dungeness is classified as a National Nature Reserve, filled with unique wildlife and over 600 different types of plants. That said, it seems Jarman had his work cut out getting plants to grow in the barren shingle!

Prospect Cottage itself is also memorable – it's black walls filled with the lines from a poem and gorse yellow window frames. I'm not a gardener but would love to give my coastal garden some Dungeness style. 

Prospect Cottage

Prospect Cottage

The Sun Rising by John Donne   

The Sun Rising by John Donne 

Dungeness spirit

If Dungeness was a font, it would look like ‘RX12’ by artist Paddy Hamilton at Dungeness Open Studios, inspired by hand painted roadside signs. Romney Marsh Brewery commissioned a bottle label, pint glasses and pump badge design using this lino-cut alphabet, which is available to buy in a digital format or as artwork featuring a personalised message.

Dungeness font in production

Dungeness font in production

Romney Marsh Brewery packaging

Romney Marsh Brewery packaging

If you visit Dungeness, the first thing you notice is the magical light. Then you notice the details, the unusual textures, patterns and forms. This exhibition by Philip Hughes Art captures this spirit – the scale, colour and energy. It's currently on tour and will be back at their London Studios next month to view. 

Dungeness Exhibition by Philip Hughes Art

Dungeness Exhibition by Philip Hughes Art

So, although creativity is flourishing in Dungeness, it remains unspoilt, peaceful and unique, and there's always something new to explore.

For an entertaining local's guided tour see www.dungeness.org.uk/what-to-see

My son George exploring Dungeness

My son George exploring Dungeness

 

Folkestone Book Festival Visitor Experience

Added on by Stella Chapman.

This project began with a timely tweet inviting artists and designers to submit their proposal for a visitor experience for the Folkestone Book Festival. Salt has been involved with a number of interior display and exhibition graphic projects and we knew this was a pitch we had to win. 

The Creative Foundation, the arts charity behind the festival and many other local events, had been in our mind for a while. Their flagship project the Folkestone Triennial, a contemporary arts exhibition, was so amazing we created a blog about it! They have attracted big name artists in previous projects and are a well respected arts body.

Salt Folkestone Quarterhouse

The brief was to transform the interior spaces at the Folkestone Quarterhouse, the venue for the 10 day November Book Festival. The aim was to create a warm and inviting environment to gather together and share stories with well known authors including Mark Billingham and Melvyn Bragg alongside local writers. We immediately wanted to put our loves of books and obsession with type and paper at the centre of our idea. 

Creative pitch moodboard

Creative pitch moodboard

Finding magic

We distilled our ideas into the concept ‘Finding Magic’ inspired by a Dr Seuss quote "You can find magic wherever you look, sit back relax all you need is a book" and pitched it to Tania McCormack at Creative Foundation. An artist herself, Tania instantly understood we wanted to lift the stories right off the pages and display them around the venue in unexpected places.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival Floor graphic
Salt Folkestone Book Festival foyer graphics
Salt Folkestone Book Festival floor graphic

We designed typographic quotations as floor and wall vinyls in the entrance foyer to lead visitors through the space up to the focal point in the bar – a 4m high hanging installation of type and snowflakes cascading from the double height ceiling through the circular atrium to the foyer below.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival installation

Commissioning the artists

From early on we knew the perfect collaboration would be with bespoke paper artist Suzanne Allen at Paper Tree Design. Due to the tight schedule there was no time for testing our design, and working from our visuals Suzanne began one of the largest project she’d undertaken. Over 100 bespoke paper cut snowflakes set the magical and festive mood and Suzanne produced the festival poster with letters opening like doors on an giant advent calendar.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival poster

It was important for the Creative Foundation and us for the production to be bespoke and crafted, and with this in mind we also commissioned local artist Samuel Capell to screen print limited edition quote posters, as souvenirs of the occasion.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival type posters

The results

The whole project from pitch to installation was achieved in less than a month, with the help of Tania, Ioannis and Chief Technician Anthony with an impossibly tall ladder! For flexibility, everything was assembled on site and installed over 3 days by ourselves, Paper Tree and the Creative Foundation team. Local company Sign Graphics did an amazing job with the cut vinyl lettering.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival team

All the elements were designed to have a permanent nature so they could be re-used for future Book Festivals and we were delighted to see the work being left in place over the Christmas period too.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival Bar installation
Salt Folkestone Book Festival snowflake detail

The festival, which opened with author Louis de Bernières switching on the Christmas lights, was a great success with record numbers attending. It was great to see everyone from the celebrity speakers to local school children enjoying the festive space. 

Salt Folkestone Book Festival bar detail

We really enjoyed the collaboration and hope it's the first of many projects with the Creative Foundation. We are proud to be involved in their mission to use creativity to bring Folkestone to back life and prosperity.

Salt Folkestone Book Festival bar graphic

"Stella and Victoria quickly came up with a concept for the Book Festival 2015 decorations and worked to a very tight deadline. Their initial ideas encompassed the brief and at all stages there was excellent communication and we worked together to problem solve within the limitations of the space and budget. The finished outcome transformed the space beautifully and was well received by our audiences. It was a complete pleasure to work with Salt." 
Alastair Upton : Chief Executive Creative Foundation

"I loved the decorations, I thought they were very festive, original and elegant. They were definitely a great addition to the Quarterhouse. I do hope we work again with you in the future!"
Geraldine D’Amico : Curator Folkestone Book Festival


Photography Bernadette Baksa (NGM Photography where stated)