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Made in Camden

Part 1 Project 2014
Sear N Ng
University of Westminster UK
Camden Lock market used to be known for its artist community, crafts workshops and studios. This was the site of a homegrown art scene which flourished during the 1970s. Currently, there are no visible examples of this form of craftsmanship and the products on sale at the market are merely commercial commodities. Noticeably, this shift in focus from locally handmade goods to mass produced souvenirs has brought about a sense of detachment between the market and the surrounding local community.

The design project ‘Made in Camden’ attempts to rediscover some of the ideas concerning the Arts and Crafts which used to characterised Camden. This is mainly explored through the ethics of the word ‘craft’, and challenges the dominating reality of mass-production. Hence, it is important that the context of Camden Lock market where commercial objects are currently mass-produced forms part of the design proposal. Proposed as a School, the premise primarily facilitates craftsmanship. In this instance, the idea of mass-product customising is encouraged as a form of Arts and Crafts. This allows for new inventions and creations in crafting to become adaptable to future technologies.

The School remains accessible from adjacent shops, existing site openings and routes. This design strategy creates access for the local community, vendors, merchants, artist and student-craftsmen, and enables them to become part of the School’s program. This integration of School and site, private and public features enable the act of ‘making’ and the skills of craftsmen to be exhibited and shared. This is further extended as part of the market atmosphere and landscape to enhance the public experience. More importantly, the architecture is no longer a mere enclosure for the craftsmen but is part of and acknowledges the quality of the crafts by enabling the act of ‘making’ and skills of craftsmen to be celebrated.

Sear N Ng


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