This summer saw us continue our research into architecture, design, and materiality through construction, performance and the local community. We were based around Gillette Square in Dalston, Hackney. We designed, planned and built structures, stages for the final day’s public event – a transformation of the public square into a shadow theatre. STORE has spent over four years in this location developing relationships with Hackney Co-operative Developments and other local organisations who support and emphasise creative ideas for improving the local community.
This year’s brief was inspired by a Buddhist story: “There was once a curious man that decided to visit Hell. The people there all looked weak and sickly from lack of food. At lunchtime the man was surprised to see the table – it was overflowing with food. As he continued observing it started making sense; each person had chopsticks a meter in length. ‘No wonder they are unable to eat’, he thought and left Hell. He decided to visit Heaven. It was dinner time when he arrived and he assumed there should be plenty to eat in heaven; everybody looked well-fed and happy. Here, as in Hell, fabulous looking meals filled a big table. He was asked to have a seat and join the meal, but here too the chopsticks were a meter long. He looked around ‘Am I still in Hell?’. The woman sitting opposite smiled at him and picked up a piece of food with her chopsticks. ‘Try this. It is my favourite,’ she said and popped it into the man’s mouth.”
The course engaged in research of the surrounding city and community, conducted technical workshops, lectures and held discussions. The participants learnt from local professionals from various creative fields. As well as developing design and construction skills, the students developed their skills in collaboration and teamwork, as well as the coordination and execution of a full scale public event.