Virtual Design Festival

Urban Flux by Regent's University London

Regent's University London interior design students reimagine former department store in Margate

Five interior design students from Regent's University London present proposals for the overhaul of a once-vacant Woolworths department store in Margate, UK, in this VDF school show.

The schemes range from a cave-diving centre to an observatory, and were all developed as part of the school's Urban Flux studio that asks students to "investigate ideas of impermanence and temporality in the city".

Regent's University London

University: Regent's University London
Course: BA (Hons) Interior Design
Studio: Urban Flux – 3rd Year Final Design Project
Tutors: Sophie Ungerer, Sarah Harkins, Owain Caruana-Davies

Course statement:

"The BA (Hons) Interior Design programme at Regent's aims to prepare students for a creative and professional career in the area of interior design, allowing them to gain a deep understanding of built spaces and to design for people and their needs.

"Students learn to exercise their creativity through an introduction to interior design principles, spatial practices and professional standards, building on skills they will need to effectively communicate with employers and clients.

"The programme is industry-focused, with students being taught by expert practitioners while working on real-world briefs, collaborating with clients and other users.

"As students develop design knowledge and skills, they are challenged to leave behind preconceived solutions and embark on their personal creative journey as a designer.

"Site and location are at the heart of everything, as they weave the historical, social, ethical and environmental context into the narrative of their projects."

Urban Flux studio statement:

"This year's Interior Design graduates set out to investigate ideas of impermanence and temporality in the city, exploring transformation, change, flux.

"For the final design project, the students took a trip to the seaside, travelling to Margate to design a proposal for the reuse of the Woolworth Department store on the High Street, which is now the home of the Margate School of Art.

"Each student developed their own response to the site, creating individual building programmes that aim to preserve and conserve Margate's intrinsic qualities whilst invigorating a quickly changing urban environment."

The Deep: Diving into Marine Geology by Hannah Gates

The Deep: Diving into Marine Geology by Hannah Gates

"The Deep proposes a cave-diving training centre and marine geology research facility in the former Woolworth Shop, inspired by the local Margate Caves.

"A tank structure meanders throughout the building, the key feature of the design. The tank expands out of the facade onto the high street, angled towards the sea.

The relationship between building and tank creates a thought-provoking concept by demonstrating a flooded building, reflecting the impact of global warming and rising sea levels.

"In addition to research laboratories for the cave diver and marine geologists, the building also aims to introduce the local community to scuba diving and marine geology."

Name: Hannah Gates
Project: The Deep: Diving into Marine Geology
Instagram: @missgatesinteriors
Contact address: [email protected]

Margate Sky Archive & Observatory by Maria Gedike 

Margate Sky Archive & Observatory by Maria Gedike 

"The Margate Sky Archive & Observatory aims to uncover the hidden beauty and history of Margate, illuminating the existing in a new light for the public to experience through the use of colour and light.

"Spaces such as the Sky Library and Archive, the Live Sky Portal and the Sky Observatory encourage visitors to appreciate the beauty of the skies, both during the day and at night, and show what they could be missing outside by spending a day at home or working in the office.

"Viewing pod and platforms offer a different perspective view of the seaside."

Name: Maria Gedike
Project: Margate Sky Archive & Observatory
Contact address: [email protected]

The Art Foundry by Emily Hutchins

The Art Foundry by Emily Hutchins

"The Art Foundry introduces an iron foundry into Margate that will be accessible to local artists looking to cast iron sculptures, whilst also offering youths from the Pie Music Factory a new creative experience and an opportunity to learn new skills.

"The project was inspired by Margate's lost Victorian pier, a historic piece of British industrial design made possible due to the Victorian industrial revolution.

"The design, informed by the iron casting process, is organised around two opposing moments: the glowing heat of the furnace versus the cool calm of the vertical concrete wall, which divides the workshops from the front of the building."

Name: Emily Hutchins
Project: The Art Foundry
Instagram: @emilyhdesign
Contact address: [email protected]

Store 192 – Print Press Archive by Mercy Sossion

Store 192 – Print Press Archive by Mercy Sossion

"This project aims to explore how preservation and renewal can coexist in a place undergoing urban transformation, such as Margate.

"Store 192 aims to rejuvenate a lost industry by creating a Printing Press Archive in conjunction with the Margate School of Art. The design strategy is based on moving typography, typesetting and compositing type in a chase.

"A grid system is used to insert new functional blocks within the existing building frame, comparative to setting type within a chase for printing.

"The materiality of the project evokes and combines two more lost crafts, papermaking and seaweed harvesting, to create a series of translucent screens. The process by which pulp is produced from seaweed is much more environmentally friendly than the process of making wood pulp."

Name: Mercy Sossion
Project: Store 192 – Print Press Archive
Instagram: @mer_c_soso
Contact address: [email protected]

The Maritime Machine by Courtney Celine Welham

The Maritime Machine by Courtney Celine Welham

"Maritime Machine is an oceanic research institute, focusing on health benefits of seawater and the ocean environment, and combining endurance swimming training with scientific research.

"The design is inspired by Margate's historic sea bathing culture, the history of The Royal Sea Bathing Hospital, as well as explorations into marine flora and structures.

"The project aims to reinstate the lost connection of the site to the ocean. The existing first floor has been replaced by a boardwalk structure inspired by Margate's lost pier. Vertical lab spaces, clad with seaweed infused bio-resin, pierce through the double height space, allowing glimpses of the environmental scientists' work."

Name: Courtney Celine Welham
Project: The Maritime Machine
Instagram: @courtney_celine_design
Contact address: [email protected]

Virtual Design Festival's student and schools initiative offers a simple and affordable platform for student and graduate groups to present their work during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for more details.