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Batik Factory- Production and Indulgence

Part 1 Project 2009
Zeta Freeman
University of Brighton, UK
The project demonstrates the research and development of a small-scale factory facility producing Batiked silk, situated on Brick Lane in London. Batik is the Javanese art of silk decoration using wax and dyes, the art is rich in tradition and culture and is highly regarded as an art form. The art requires patience and subtle detailing, concepts I have tried to embody in the building.
The facility was to change the normal form of a factory, rather than having the production process hidden this facility would open it up. The boundary between public and private, production and display would become intertwined. The concept of indulgence lies at the centre of the facility, allowing the users to come and be immersed in Batik, with all its rich colours, materials and history. Users create a Batik in an orchestrated series of environments that intensify the experience of each very different and particular stage of the production process. This experience is intensified as the user journeys through the building and Batik process, by abstract glimpses of stages of the process yet to come.
The project subject and form are strongly influenced by the history of Brick Lane and its silk trade, also by Brick lane’s rich and varied cultures and their trade in saris.
The proposal embodies the light and delicate quality of silk and the intricate and specific detailing of Batik, contrasting and responding to the heavy brick mass of the buildings that closely surround the facility on all sides. The facility, a centre for creativity, sits as a ethereal translucent form amongst the busy mass of Brick lane.
There was the ambition from the start to design a specific spatial and atmospheric quality within the facility, the logical process of analysis and design was developed along side this spatial ambition. The result is a facility that allows the user to fully indulge in the process of Batiking, with the architectural tools of material, form and orchestrated circulation used to create specific atmospheric conditions.


Zeta Freeman


The studio's theme “Production and Indulgence” questioned architecture's dual capacity of enclosing [enabling] a production process and exposing [visualising] it to an inquiring and/or consuming indulging public.
Whilst the modern city and a global production process have led to an alienation between production and consumption, the contemporary urban condition has curiously also produced the inverse: economic value of real estate and a natural growth of the city has often led to a heterogenic density where different uses of space overlap.
Through a choice of sites on Brick Lane in London, students were asked to engage with the problematic of producing and consuming goods in the context of a dense inner-city location with its own diverse history of indulgence and production.

This project responded in a fine and integrative way to the observed and researched character of Brick Lane. Choosing a locked site on southern Brick Lane, the project drew on the fabric producing history of the area as well as on its demographic present concluding in the proposal for a small batiking factory selling its products on the spot.
The Batik Factory approached the theme of “Production and Indulgence” in a refreshingly hands-on way. It first immersed itself in the production of an “artefactual database” of dyed and hand-batiked silks. These were analysed to determine the key parameters of the production process and the spatial and material qualities to design for and were also used to collage into working and final drawings. Indulgence was attributed not only to the moment of buying or wearing the final product, i.e. a sari, but also to individual moments in the production process which consequently were treated with great attention to material and spatial detail.
Working closely with the densely built site, the Batik Factory's volumetric and material solution expresses the fine balancing of the requirements of an industrial production process and a building as light, translucent and colourful as its products.

Katrin Bohn
Anuschka Kutz

Tutor(s)
Katrin Bohn
2009
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