Windows on Willesden 'Playwood'

Neu Architects, London, 2011

 

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Public Realm Intervention

The project sat within a larger High Street wide initiative, “New Windows on Willesden Green”; one of the Mayor’s Outer London Fund projects, delivered for Brent Council and Design for London by The Architecture Foundation. This project was an exciting opportunity to revive and improve Willesden High Road bringing positive change to the area. The project saw a series of interventions in 25 shop fronts. The window displays were re-imagined and revealed daily, as an advent calendar, on the 25 days leading up to Christmas. The Willesden Green Library “Play-wood” was part of this project.

Project Description

On Willesden High Street lies a small space outside the Willesden Green Library Centre. The space lacked significant character being completely subservient to the buildings that surrounded it. The low budget proposal aspired to bring activity to the space, animating it to reflect the events taking place inside the library, using tactile elements to encourage people to touch, listen, read, play and sit. We saw the intervention as something to be at human scale for people to relate too and engage with.

The “Playwood” comprised of 3 elements: trees, lighting and audio. 16 plywood trees were arranged in a ‘random’ configuration on in the site. Clear routes through them forced the public to interact and walk in or around them. Theatre lights projected leaf patterns and brought depth to the design and visual enhancement at night. Audio fairy tale stories were broadcast through exterior speakers to fill the space with sound and give people reason to pause in the space just that little bit longer than usual.

The design of the trees was playful and a bit tongue and cheek. Lollipop shaped they are inhabited by fairy tale forest creatures and provide seating for story telling events or just pondering, they sought to draw the activities taking place in the children’s library, out to the front of the building. Children and adults can sit on them play on or amongst them as they wish. Storytelling events were organized around them and they were used as the end point for the 2012 Willesden Green Wassail.

This project, highlighted the positive affect a small intervention can have on an under utilised space.

Part of the project included a workshop to engage the community where they could decorate cardboard versions of the trees.

Data

  • Begun: Dec 2011
  • Completed: Dec 2011
  • Sectors: Arts and culture, Civic, Public realm
  • Total cost: £4,000
  • Funding: Mayors Outer london fund.
  • Tender date: Dec 2011
  • Procurement: Bespoke
  • Address: Willesden Green Library Centre, London, NW10 2SF, United Kingdom

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