Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, a young team of designers from London, built this duo of charred-wood shelters to serve as temporary artist studios. Dubbed The Observatory, they were commissioned as part of an arts education program and are expected to travel across the UK throughout the year. This mobility will allow artists from different places to make good use of them as well as offering passersby a glimpse into their working processes, which are usually hidden to the public.
Each structure has its own name – the Study and the Workshop – to reflect different uses. They were created to encourage interaction between artist and audience, making the private act of the design process public through the large windows. Six artists, ranging from traditional sculptors to scriptwriters, will be able to take up a two-month-long residency inside the cabins.
Both, ‘the Study’ and ‘the Workshop’ are fixed on a steel base with caster wheels that are manually operated by a crank handle inside. This mobility not only allows the structure to travel around but also makes it easier to pivot towards the best views in every location. The buildings were built from timber and feature warm pale interiors that contrast with their charred-skin, a technique inspired by artist Edward Crumpton‘s charcoal drawings.
While the more private Study cabin comes with a desk, a stove and the potential for a portable toilet and sleeping space, the Workshop is more public with an exhibition room. Handcrafted details include a woven tarred-rope screen, designed to weather and decay throughout the duration of the project. These self-sustained traveling cabins harvest rainwater — highly available in the UK — to supply a reclaimed ceramic sink, and solar panels provide enough electricity to power a light bulb and a laptop.
The cabins were commissioned by arts education consultancy SPUD. “Art is something that shouldn’t be tucked away and hidden and we are hopeful that The Observatory will stimulate both young and old minds to visit more exhibitions and performances and to be inspired by the world around us,” said principal associate Phil Smith.
Photos by Matt Dunkinson