Wealdstone Youth Workshop is a new public design project, in collaboration with the young people of Wealdstone, north-west London, to design and make furniture for use in the forthcoming Wealdstone Square.
We brought together a group of local 17 and 18 year olds – Esther, Marius, Tanya, Leo, Katy, Danica, Kayleigh and Marina – and commissioned multi-disciplinary designers Silo to work with them, to research, design and produce the furniture over a period of six months.
The Wealdstone Leg is the result – a new, strange, wonderful furniture component, which forms the basis of a range of stools, benches and chairs for use in the new square. The Wealdstone Leg is also available for you to buy and use as you wish: as a leg, an arm, a bracket, a thing. All proceeds go back into the project, with the youth each receiving a % royalty on each sale (along with a small stipend of £500 for taking part).
The project was a response to the situation we found in Wealdstone. We were initially asked to find new users and create new uses for the new square. We quickly realised, however, that the community had bigger problems: namely, a lack of activity for young people due to cuts to youth services, and the resulting negative perception of young people hanging around the town.
We set out to create a project that could change this dynamic, by putting the young people at the centre of what was happening in Wealdstone, and working with them to create something the rest of the community could use.
Our ambition was always to create a piece of sell-able furniture, by Wealdstone, for Wealdstone, which could help change perceptions of both the youth and the area itself. Thanks to Silo and the youth, we got exactly that.
Wealdstone Youth Workshop is part of a wider project by Harrow Council to create a new public space at the centre of Wealdstone that can bring the community together. The overall project is led by We Made That, with Spacemakers, Europa and others in support. We were assisted on the ground by Karolina Cialkaite.
We create projects, publications and interventions to help make our cities, buildings and spaces work better.
We specialise in reactivating dead spaces; harnessing unused potential in a community; and getting inside the machinery of regeneration, and using its levers to come up with something more interesting.
We work with local authorities, private developers, architects and community groups. We believe regeneration should be useful, honest, simple and beautiful.
Spacemakers is led by Matt Weston and Tom James, and was founded by Dougald Hine. We're based in Brighton, London and Stockholm.
Along with our project work, we have a strong history of consultancy.
We’ve been part of the Greater London Authority’s Special Assistance Team since its inception in 2011. During this time, we’ve worked with London boroughs on projects as diverse as public space, workspaces, local economics and identities. We’ve also worked nationally, advising on market squares in Basingstoke and university campuses in the midlands. And we’re part of NESTA’s New Radicals, a network of radical organisations changing Britain for the better.
We’re often brought in early on, to work out what the right strategy for a project is long term. We use the experience we’ve gained from our own projects to advise others on how best to bring their buildings, spaces and communities back to life. We’re honest, we give critique and we have ideas.
We do feasibility, problem solving and ideas generation, from a single day to an entire year. If you have a project that could do with some new thinking, please get in touch.