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The Art Foundry

Part 1 Project 2011
Kairo Baden-Powell
Nottingham Trent University Nottingham UK
In the modern world we spend the majority of our lives at work; therefore the spaces in which we practice must match the level of creativity, inventiveness and thought that goes into work. The project started with investigations into the poor working conditions of third world counties, which supplement many of our lives with artificial happiness.

In New Delhi, India, workers are forging manhole covers, a prosaic piece of an urban jigsaw puzzle of New York under appalling working conditions. This became an emotional concept of making spaces which help towards a sense of enlightenment in the workplace. A programmatic fusion of Artist Studios and a bespoke foundry work in sync to create highly crafted objects, such as bronze bells for churches, metal castings and primitive tools. The foundry responds sensitively and appropriately to the place and speaks through light, space and materials. The projects premise is to use architectures capacity to affect our inner emotions, to suggest the politics and ethics of a place and to create positive atmospheres and conditions which are social, uplifting and amiable.

The Art Foundry is situated on the periphery of Nottingham in a desolated Victorian lace factory, with memories of its poor working conditions and is specific to the site. The edifice has been left vacant since a major fire caused extensive damage and is now home to urban explorers in search of the sublime. The Art Foundry embodies the external skin of the Victorian structure. The rich materiality mixed with architectures place making potential situates the foundry as a site of play, experimentation and creativity which is in dialogue with Nottingham’s young and emerging social Art culture and acts as a catalyst to the rejuvenation of River Trent’s Waterside.

Kairo Baden-Powell


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