High Street is a place where people stop to meet and mix and share ideas and stories, nowhere more so than in the high streets of the East End of London. Traditionally the manufacturing power base of London, industry in the East End has rapidly declined, articularly since the demise of the London Docks. Migrant populations to the territory have enriched this existing deep vein of story telling and focused on manufacturing too, establishing thriving industry in the locality over time.
Putting these two starting points together, story telling and industrial processes, the studio searched for remnants and traces of past and present manufacturing, unearthing industrial artefacts that told a story. The mechanisms and processes were drawn and became the inspiration for designing a place that told a story reflecting on a redundant or existing industrial process. We designed meeting place where locals and visitors can overlap.
Set in the bleak landscape of the largest shingle beach in Europe, the nuclear power stations of Dungeness A and Dungeness B offer a potent site which is resonant with the past and the future. A bizarre, surreal landscape exposed to the elements; stripped bare and beaten with the weather. This constantly shifting shingle is home to a disparate few. Not for the faint hearted, abandoned fishing huts convert into Spartan habitations. Once the home of solitary fishermen, the beach is scattered with discarded objects; fishing boats, navigation buoys and measuring devices lie
decaying and unwanted.
At Dungeness we found a powerful juxtaposition of the man made and the natural; of danger and peace; of the enormous and the miniature. Our themes were navigators, devices in the landscape, shifting shingle, expansive sky, watery worlds, colonisers, adventure tourism, alternative futures and we designed a destination, a place at the end of the line, a Palace of Delight.