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A Jubilee event - Southbank Festival Village

— June 2012

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Preparation work in progress - volunteers get the site ready

An important space for international artists built by London's creative community.

A huge gathering of artists from the UK and around the world will descend on London this summer for Southbank Centre’s Festival of the World from 1 June to 9 September. A disused space under the Queen Elizabeth Hall is being transformed into the  Festival Village where these artists, along with local participants, Festival staff and volunteers can meet each other, connect and, of course, relax.

The project is a unique take on ‘codesign’ and ‘comake’ processes: a diverse band of volunteers have signed up to design and build the space from scratch, guided by Lyn Atelier and TILT  working with Southbank Centre’s in-house teams. It's a bold step by Southbank Centre using fresh, young designers and totally transforming a disused space through collaboration.

Over 200 participants are already taking part, creating and making a space at the Southbank Centre that will welcome international artists to London. They come from all sorts of backgrounds including architecture, design or construction or simply because they want to try something new. Everyone from structural engineers, art students, and furniture designers to DIY enthusiasts are coming together to help with everything from designing concrete furniture to building a bar, and from drawing graphics to demolishing walls.

The group wants to welcome many more.

Collaborative design is an exciting new approach to designing and creating spaces. Facilitated by experienced designers, the process involves engaging a community around a space and encouraging them to get involved in all aspects of creating and making it. The aim is to harness people’s collective ideas to codesign the brief and ensure the space is truly fit for purpose. The comaking of the space also gives participants an opportunity to get physically involved in making the space in a way that is fun, safe and develops their affinity with the space. If you'd like to chat to participants, it can be arranged.

Southbank Centre’s summer 2012 site-wide Festival of the World with MasterCard opens on 1 June 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee Weekend, and closes on 9 September 2012. As London welcomes the world this summer, Southbank Centre’s Festival of the World will include inspirational projects from the UK and around the world, which showcase the power of the arts to change the lives of individuals, communities and whole societies. The site will be transformed with art installations including a giant ‘robot’ sculpture; a colossal baobab tree made from fabric; ‘Rainbow Park’, a multi-coloured beach; and an exhibition in the Royal Festival Hall of the thinkers, artists and communities who have inspired and contributed to the Festival. The reopening of the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, weekly food markets, and a pop-up cafe complete the Festival  landscape.

The Festival Village is using social media and the power of its community’s network to source materials including wood, paint, bricks and shelving to help make the space as well as reach out to participants. Overall, there will be over 5 tons of recycled materials saved from landfill and used for the project, including 2 tons of materials salvaged from the existing site.

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