LendLease & Parkview School Birmingham City Council
As part of Birmingham’s Building Schools for the Future programme, we were asked to work with staff and students to co design and fabricate three market stalls for the student enterprise programme. We started with a study trip to get some inspiration: we made drawings and models before refining ideas. We built a 1:1 prototype hut from cardboard so that everybody could get to grips with their size and the fixtures they needed inside.
It was really difficult for the students to pursue their ideas and make sure that their final designs were bold and bright just like the schemes that had inspired them to begin with but we certainly got there in the end.
With the huts installed, everybody got involved painting the designs onto the customised beach huts to create the perfect stalls.
6 months from start of engagement to final installation of built work. 5 workshops from March – May 2012 followed by a detailed design phase and fabrication of the customised beach huts. Once the huts were installed 5 days of painting and installing signage in June – July 2012.
In order to create a strong and unique brand for each of the three market stalls we wanted to inspire and provoke a conversation about good design so we started the project with a study trip to look at branding and signage used by small businesses and market traders in a local high street and retail village. We challenged the students to identify which brands worked best with the products on sale and think about why they have drawn these conclusions. We wanted to move beyond just ‘I like that colour' and into interrogating what they wanted people to feel about the businesses they were creating.
Next we wanted to start thinking about the scale of the market stalls but we quickly realised that we needed to provide a point of reference to compare to. We prepared a full scale cardboard version of a market stall at the size the students had agreed on which they assembled in their school hall. This allowed them to see if it needed to be bigger, contain more storage and also helped to give a sense of how big a canvas they would be working with in terms of painting the outside.
Working in groups the students identified 3 themes for the stalls: a fair trade snack shop, a stationary shop and a pop up shop selling up to date on trend items. With key decisions on scale and product choice made we could move into the design stage using a range of techniques from drawing to collaging to produce some initial concept designs. We ran a workshop on pattern making and working with repeat patterns to filter the array of ideas into a striking brand that easily conveys a message.
With designs finalised and huts delivered on site the students helped us to paint and transfer their designs onto the stalls using large stencils.
Finishing touches inspired by the study trip were the last items to be added: hanging signs and A-boards completed the market stall aesthetic.